Bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland is ‘not stupid’, says Alan Dunlop


A BRIDGE between Scotland and Northern Ireland “would overhaul the economy” after Brexit, said the architect behind the original idea.

Speaking to the Herald, Professor Alan Dunlop said the idea would create thousands of jobs, which would be a good investment in post-Brexit Britain.

It comes after reports that the UK government has shelved the idea, which has been dubbed “the world’s dumbest tunnel”.

A government official told the Financial Times the project was “dead, at least for now” as Chancellor Rishi Sunak seeks to stick to self-imposed spending limits in next month’s budget.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson’s plan for Scotland-Northern Ireland crossing abandoned

But Professor Dunlop says the link between the two countries is both feasible and economically beneficial – in part by providing jobs for thousands of people.

He also said it would also provide “compelling evidence” that the UK government is committed to the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland after Brexit.

Professor Alan Dunlop suggested the move made sense in a post-Brexit world

Former Boris Johnson adviser Dominic Cummings previously estimated the cost of the project at around £ 15bn, while Scottish Net Zero climate and transport secretary Michael Matheson said earlier this year that the link could end up costing £ 33 billion.

Defending the idea however, Professor Dunlop told the Herald: ‘I still strongly believe that such a large transport and infrastructure project would be an investment in the future after Brexit and also after Covid.

“Much like Roosevelt’s New Deal, it would put a lot of people back to work. ”

He added: “He wants to keep the Union and he wants to persuade the rest of the world that we are still big players and can build big things – and what would be bigger than a tunnel under the Irish Sea, connecting Scotland and northern Ireland? ”

The National:

The question of whether a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland is still possible remains due to bad weather conditions in the Irish Sea and Beaufort’s Dyke trench, which contains spilled British ammunition.

Dunlop, a member of the Royal Incorporation of Architects, said the news of the abandonment of the project was “disappointing if true”, but said it was understandable given the current economic climate.

He added: “However, the Celtic Crossing Irish Sea Link proposal has been headlining worldwide since January 2018. There have been times I have thought about it only to get the idea to come back and that the Union Connectivity report has yet to be released.

“I still strongly believe that such a large transport and infrastructure project would be an investment in the future after Brexit and also after Covid. Much like Roosevelt’s New Deal, it would put many people back to work.

“However, the case of a physical connection between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is not just an infrastructure issue.

“Such a bond would strengthen economic, social and cultural ties and offer compelling evidence of the British Government’s commitment to the people, especially Northern Ireland and Scotland.”

READ MORE: UK government has had ‘no contact’ with Scotland over Northern Ireland bridge plan

He said the UK had the engineering and architectural talent as well as the ability to build the project, adding: “It would be transformative and a world first.”

He continued: “It is true that he was ridiculed by some engineers but supported by many others, globally and in regards to the comment on ‘dumbest tunnel in the world’. We know why Cummings said that, surely.

“Experts have reportedly said that the Irish Sea was more than 300 meters deep in some areas, and that a bridge would need dozens of towers supporting it to heights” never reached anywhere in the world. ”

“Which experts? This ‘expert’ who studied it for three years does not agree.

The Herald reported that a spokesperson for the UK government did not deny that the plans had been shelved, but said: “Strengthening connectivity across the UK and improving infrastructure for transportation are at the heart of our upgrade program. ”

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