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Holyhead to Ireland tunnel found to be ‘unfeasible’ by UK Government transport review

26 Nov 2021 3 minute read
A map from the report of where the tunnel would have been sited

A tunnel from Holyhead in Wales to Howth in Ireland was considered by the UK Government but found to be “unfeasible”, a new report has revealed.

Sir Peter Hendy was asked to look at the plan for a tunnel or bridge between Great Britain and the island of Ireland as part of his Union Connective Review report.

The report published today revealed that a 54-mile tunnel between Wales and Ireland was given serious consideration as part of a number of options.

“After discussion with Sir Peter Hendy it was subsequently agreed to add a seventh corridor to the study between Holyhead and Dublin.,” the report notes.

However, the report goes on to say that there were “environmental and scale concerns” and that the corridor was “less likely to be feasible”.

“The [Holyhead tunnel] is dismissed on account of a 52-mile tunnel being six times the length of any tunnel yet constructed, and whilst of great value in facilitating England-Dublin trade, being of no value to Scottish-Irish traffic,” the report says, making no mention of the environmental impact on Wales.

A tunnel to the Isle of Man and onwards to Bangor in Northern Ireland was also on the table. But the most likely route to work was that between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Eventually, the whole scheme was dropped after the review estimated a  tunnel would cost up to £208bn and a bridge would be up to £335bn.


Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps had first suggested the Wales-Ireland tunnel plan as an alternative to Boris Johnson’s proposed bridge to the Financial Times.

“Why not?” he asked, saying they needed to better connect Britain with Northern Ireland.

Baroness Charlotte Vere, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, had later said that a route between Wales and Ireland was in the works as part of the Fixed Link Feasibility Study begun in March.

Baroness Vere said: “As with any assessment at this early stage, it is important to consider the broad range of options, so a route between Holyhead and Dublin is being assessed as a comparator.

“Since this route is not the main focus of the study, only high-level discussions around it have taken place. These have been facilitated by the independent technical team leading the study.”

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William Dolben
William Dolben
2 years ago

“a 52-mile tunnel being six times the length of any tunnel yet constructed”.

surely a road tunnel as there many rail tunnels 9 miles plus long?

2 years ago
Reply to  William Dolben

Gotthard Base tunnel — 35.4 miles (2 tubes)
Seikan tunnel — 33.5 miles
Channel tunnel — 31.3 miles (3 tubes)

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
2 years ago

“and whilst of great value in facilitating England-Dublin trade”.

“England-Dublin trade” for a bridge that has one end in Wales – says it all.

2 years ago

The tunnel was never on the cards except in that pile of fantasy projects that Boris and Co devised to distract the public and enable huge consultancy fees to be paid to various cronies. Almost everything these guys do is a scam or has a scam element contained in it.

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Absolutely agree. A 5 yr old child could have come to the conclusion that this hare-brained proposal was a no-goer, however a Bojo crony has nicely filled his pockets, again!

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