Freight News, Road, Sea

Ireland fixed link bill would be £40bn, say ports

[ July 2, 2021   //   ]

The fixed link between Northern Ireland and Great Britain currently being considered by the Government is likely to cost about £40 billion, according to an assessment commissioned by the British Ports Association (BPA).

According to the report I Have a Bridge to Sell You: Making The Case for Port Connectivity, the scale and challenge of the project are unprecedented and costs would be unmanageable.

Physical constraints, such as water depth and sea conditions mean a bridge would be out of the question while the length and depth of water, dumped munitions and complex geology would also make a tunnel challenging and costly.

BPA adds that the resulting modal shift from shipping to road would raise emissions by 133% while the materials to construct the link would come with “staggering” environmental costs.

There would be no natural place for Brexit checks on goods to occur and journey times will increase, with HGV drivers having to take a break before or after transiting the link to avoid breaking the law on legal limits for driving time.

BPA policy manager and economic analyst Phoebe Warneford-Thomson said that the suggestion of a fixed link “represents a redundant and irresponsible use of public money. It would be much better spent on other infrastructure priorities.”

BPA said its alternative port connectivity programme would cost a fraction of the fixed link, with an anticipated 400% return on investment derived through cost savings for businesses, with a positive impact on emissions and the net-zero agenda.