One of the UK’s leading architects has said he is encouraged by news that the UK government is to explore the feasibility of a ‘Celtic Crossing’ bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Professor Alan Dunlop has stressed the need to take the proposal seriously, despite the scepticism surrounding the idea.
He told the News Letter the project is often criticised due to the “politics” surrounding Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who described himself as an “enthusiast” for the idea during the Conservative Party leadership contest.
Channel Four news has reported that the Prime Minister told the Treasury and Department for Transport to examine the costs and risks of a possible bridge linking Northern Ireland and Scotland.
In September 2018, Professor Dunlop unveiled the first image of how the bridge might look as he deilvered the keynote address at a major architectural conference in Scotland.
Speaking to the News Letter on Wednesday, he said: “I do think we need an in-depth exploration of whether this is possible or not. I’ve been working on this since January 2018, looking at precedents throughout the world for sea bridges and things like that which span greater distances and have to cope with things like typhoons. I believe that it is possible, that we have the engineering and architectural talent. However, there are naysayers who, for whatever reason, don’t like Boris Johnson or they think it would cost too much money.
The comments are aimed at Boris Johnson and what is happening with Brexit. They don’t have anything to do with the possibility of connecting Scotland and Ireland.
“I try to stay clear of the politics in this and not get involved but because Boris is involved and what is happening with Brexit and the backstop, the two have become inextricably linked.
“I’m trying my very best to stay clear of the politics and look at it from a straightforward architectural and engineering possibility.
“I think, having studied it for 20 months, that it is absolutely possible.”
He added: “I am happy that there seems to be a serious call for a feasibility study now.”