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Boris Johnson spent £1 million developing bridge to Northern Ireland

Boris Johnson spent £1 million developing bridge to Northern Ireland
Study said benefits of project would come close to covering costs

The government spend nearly £1m assessing whether Boris Johnson’s idea of a bridge or tunnel across the Irish Sea was viable, il est apparu.

The Department for Transport confirmed on Thursday that the feasibility study for the “fixed link” cost a total of £896,608.67.

It also spent a further £1.1m on its concurrent “union connectivity review”, which reported in November.

The feasibility study found that the benefits of a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland was not worth the £335bn price tax, or £209bn for a tunnel.

One extra difficulty with the proposals was the presence of a Second World War munitions dump across the point where the link had been suggested.

Peter Hendy, the rail chief tasked with overseeing the study, said on publication that the idea of a fixed link was “an excellent question to ask”.

Il ajouta: “This is the first comprehensive, conclusive study on the subject since the idea was first mooted over 150 years ago”.

Both the bridge and tunnel versions of the project would have been the longest of their kind ever built.

Louise Haigh, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said the prime minister had blown nearly £1m on “an utterly infeasible vanity project”.

“This just shows the Tories sheer disrespect for public money," elle a dit, noting the cash was “enough to fill 18,000 potholes”.

The Scottish National Party’s shadow Scotland secretary Mhairi Black said her party “knew from the beginning this wouldn’t happen”.

“Now it has been revealed that the UK government wasted close to £1m of taxpayers’ money on a feasibility study on its unworkable, doomed from the get-go idea," elle a ajouté.

“This just goes to show the Tories’ warped spending priorities. How many lateral flow tests could this have bought, or nurses salaries paid, or PPE purchased for those on the frontline in this pandemic?

"Pourtant, as daft as this idea was, it still promised to put £20bn of investment into the Scottish and Northern Irish economies. The prime minister must honour the spending commitments he made and deliver that money to Scotland and Northern Ireland so they can use it for worthwhile infrastructure proposals.

“The UK government said it was ‘deadly serious’ about these proposals – it’s time to come good on its words and deliver the investment.”

The bridge had been mooted in the 2015 election manifesto of the Democratic Unionist Party and Mr Johnson had described it as “a very interesting idea” before confirming the study.

Before he became prime minister Mr Johnson was criticised for overseeing the spending of £43m on a proposed “garden bridge” over the Thames in London, which was also never built.