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A new Chunnel? Tunnel connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland may soon get green light

Feb. 17, 2021
3 min read
A new Chunnel? Tunnel connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland may soon get green light
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A long-awaited tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland could get the go-ahead as early as next month.

The connection — dubbed Boris’ Burrow due to the prime minister’s enthusiastic backing — would span from Larne in Northern Ireland to Stranraer in Scotland and be roughly the same length as the Channel Tunnel.

It is believed the ambitious plan would ease post-Brexit tensions after Johnson’s withdrawal agreement created checks for ferry cargo goods traveling between the countries.

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(Photo by PixHouse/Getty Images)

Last year the U.K. government tasked the chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy with coming up with ideas to better connect the four home nations.

Initially, a bridge was considered, but the treacherous Irish sea would mean it would be closed for “probably 100 days a year,” said Scottish Secretary Alister Jack. That particular distance between Ireland and Scotland is a shipping lane known for its rough waters.

So a tunnel, approximately 20 miles long and servicing both trains and cars, could be a cheaper and more viable option.

Hendy will release a study that will deliberate on whether the tunnel crossing is an option next month, according to City A.M.

It is believed he has already had his last meeting with Johnson to determine if the government should commission a formal feasibility study of the project.

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Larne, the seaport town in County Antrim,  Northern Ireland. (Photo by Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo/Getty Images)

“My strong inclination would be that he [Sir Hardy] thinks it should be a tunnel because he and I have had conversations about the weather patterns in the Irish Sea and Beaufort’s Dyke, and there’s a munitions deposit there,” Jack said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “Tunnels deal with all those problems.”

The Prime Minister has long been behind this audacious project, estimated to cost around £2 billion (about $2.8 billion), which would be a fixed link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

However, Tory MP Simon Hoare, chairman of the Northern Ireland Select Committee, has dismissed the idea as “fanciful.”

“The trains could be pulled by an inexhaustible herd of Unicorns overseen by stern, officious dodos. A PushmePullYou could be the senior guard and Puff the Magic Dragon the inspector. Let’s concentrate on making the protocol work and put the hallucinogenics down,” he tweeted.

Regardless, any project would also have to avoid Beaufort’s Dyke, a 30-mile trench up to 300 metres deep — Britain’s largest-known military dump.

Meanwhile, a similar project called the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link is being constructed in Europe. It’s an 11-mile tunnel under the Baltic Sea connecting Germany with Denmark.

It will provide a major link between central Europe and Scandinavia and is due to be completed in 2029.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023