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Photo Credit: Hannah Mckay/ PA
Photo Credit: Hannah Mckay/ PA
UK News

‘Post Brexit and Covid Britain should think big’: Christian MP backs 'Boris Burrow'

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian MP has welcomed a major transport connectivity review which is assessing the feasibility of a bridge or tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, which has been dubbed the Boris Burrow. 

The research is being carried out as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's bid to improve UK transport links.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy, who is carrying out a review of union connectivity, said further work is required on the possibility of a "fixed link" across the Irish Sea.

Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, told Premier it was great idea:

“I think that post Brexit and post Covid Britain is a place where we should think big and come up with big projects,” he said.

“I do think that so I welcome the fact that, engineers are going to look into this. I'm old enough to remember when there was quite a lot of people who weren't in favour of the Channel Tunnel back in the 1970s. And work started in the 1980s. But there was a lot of opposition to it. But now we take it for granted. So we’ve got to think big, we got to sometimes remember that lots more is doable than we imagine. I think we should explore this and see how we get on.”

Sir Peter has commissioned two engineering professors to lead a study into the feasibility of a bridge or tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, outlining its cost, timescale and the work involved.

They are ex-HS2 and Crossrail chairman Douglas Oakervee and former vice-president of Jacobs Engineering, Gordon Masterton.

Prime Minister Johnson has repeatedly spoken about the prospect of a bridge, even though experts have warned that the depth of the Irish Sea and the presence of dumped munitions would cause problems.

The scheme could cost a reported £20 billion, although the Prime Minister has previously said it would "only cost about £15 billion".

The distance from Larne to Portpatrick, one of the most likely routes for a bridge, is around 28 miles (45km).

There is no problem with distance, money or the Beaufort's Dyke explosives disposal area, according to Mr Johnson.

In November 2018, he said: "The problem is not the undersea Beaufort's Dyke or lack of funds. The problem is an absence of political will."

Mr Streeter told Premier a bridge or tunnel would also be good for unity.

“Many of us are concerned about the union of the United Kingdom at the moment,” he said.

“To combine or to link to two of the crucial parts, Northern Ireland and Scotland, together by a land bridge or tunnel, I think would be a good thing… a bit symbolic, but also practical, in terms of an infrastructure project and linking the union stronger together.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps rejected a claim by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

He told the BBC: "I understand that it is not the responsibility of the Scottish First Minister to connect the United Kingdom together. The Scottish First Minister doesn't even believe we should be in a United Kingdom. So I understand her perspective but I think it is wrong.

"For example, if you live in Northern Ireland, you want to know that you can reliably get the hauliers and lorry drivers in with goods from the mainland of the British Isles.

"Why would you ever be against connecting different parts of our country in a better way? It shouldn't be a controversial thought at all.

"As one small part of this Union connectivity review (we will) undertake a study of the feasibility of doing that and we will report back in the summer."

Following publication of the interim report, the Government announced that air passenger duty - a tax on passenger flights from UK airports - could be cut for domestic journeys.

Some £20 million has also been committed to develop plans for upgraded rail, road, sea and air links - and explore new requirements to offset emissions and decarbonise aviation.

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