An underwater tunnel connecting Great Britain and Northern Ireland could get the green light as early as next month.
The tunnel, which could be dubbed Boris’ Burrow, would help ease post-Brexit tensions, after Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement created checks for some goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Network Rail chair Sir Peter Hendy will next month release a study that will deliberate on whether the Irish Sea crossing is viable.
Hendy, who will meet with Boris Johnson soon to discuss the matter, may call for the government to start a feasibility study for the underwater tunnel.
The tunnel, which would span from Larne in Northern Ireland to Stanraer in Scotland, would be about the same length as the UK to France Channel tunnel.
Johnson has long advocated for a Great Britain to Northern Ireland crossing, with the Prime Minister touting the idea just after his 2019 election win.
Secretary of state for Scotland Alister Jack also backs the idea.
He told the Sunday Telegraph: “My strong inclination would be that he 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.”
A tunnel could help facilitate the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal as it pertains to Northern Ireland.
The Brexit withdrawal agreement sees Northern Ireland remain in the EU’s single market and follow its customs union’s rules, unlike the rest of the UK.
This means there are checks on some goods goods going between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and a so-called border in the Irish sea ,wit exporters forced to fill in customs declaration forms.
This has infuriated Northern Irish unionists who claim the new protocol is driving a wedge between them and the rest of the UK.
Customs officers in Northern Ireland have already faced death threats, forcing a temporary stop to checks last week.