Government officials consider bridge linking Scotland and Northern Ireland
A range of government officials are considering the feasibility of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to No 10.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has referred to the bridge as a "very interesting idea" and Ireland’s former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar believes it is an idea "worth examining".
First minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that there are "more important priorities" at present.
There are two routes suggested for the location of the bridge: the first from Portpatrick to Larne, the second from Torr Head to the Mull of Kintyre.
The first route would cover over 20 miles across the Irish Sea and is estimated to cost at least £15 billion.
The second is less popular – while it is cheaper, the transport links it provides are considerably poorer.
While leading architects believe the bridge is feasible, the cost is estimated to be at least £20 billion, and will be further complicated by the munitions dumped in Beaufort’s Dyke at the end of World War II.
The Ministry of Defence estimated that over a million tonnes of munitions have been dumped in the trench and, according to documents from the Public Records Office, two-tonnes of concrete-encased radioactive waste were disposed of in the 1950s.
A spokesperson for the prime minister has said that: "The prime minister has said it would have some merit – as a result you would expect government to be looking into it.”
Luke Pollard, the shadow environment secretary, has said that Johnson is utilising the bridge as a distraction, and that "every moment spent talking about a bridge no one wants, is airtime not spent focusing on the crises right in front of us".
The UK Chamber of Shipping have said that the bridge would only serve to “replicate” the ferries between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
They continued "The money could be far better spent improving road and rail links to our ports across the UK.”