Top architect backs Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge as Varadkar warns the UK 'must pay for it'

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Plans for a bridge to connect Northern Ireland and Scotland would follow similar plans to the Oresund Bridge, connecting Denmark and Sweden (GETTY)

One of the UK’s top architects has backed a proposed bridge connecting Northern Ireland and Scotland - and has urged Nicola Sturgeon to join Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar in supporting the idea.

Professor Alan Dunlop, a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, spoke out after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Boxing Day that an assessment of a 28-mile bridge should be conducted.

Ireland’s premier said he will not dismiss the idea of building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland - but insisted the UK must pay for it.

A top architect has urged Nicola Sturgeon to join Mr Johnson and Mr Varadkar in supporting a new bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland (PA)

Mr Dunlop told pro-independence publication The National: “I’m delighted that the Taoiseach has now joined the UK Prime Minister and come out in support of the idea.

“I would urge our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to put politics aside and do the same. A bridge to link Scotland and the UK to Ireland is a project fit for the 21st century. There is also interest in the project internationally.

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“I’ve spoken about it with colleagues in the USA and on visits to Australia and China this year. We have the engineering and architectural talent here in Scotland to create such a structure. Let’s look at it seriously.”

It has been reported that a bridge could potentially cost around £15 billion and would run from Larne, Northern Ireland, to south-west Scotland.

On Thursday, Mr Varadkar said: “I know people dismiss these things out of hand, but they used to dismiss the Channel Tunnel as well – the idea of building a tunnel between France and Britain – and I know what I see when I see a bridge tunnel between Denmark and Sweden, when you fly over New Orleans and you see 110 miles of bridge, it’s extraordinary.”

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he will not dismiss the idea of building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland - but insisted the UK must pay for it (PA)

“I think we need to at least check out is this viable in engineering terms and how much money it would cost to do,” he added.

Before Mr Johnson could build the 28-mile bridge, he would need to find out if unexploded Second World War bombs were potentially buried in its path, which is a concern that has been raised.

Members of the DUP in Northern Ireland backed the bridge idea last year and the Department for Transport is said to have gone as far as writing up a paper on the plans, Channel 4 previously reported.