Nicola Sturgeon has scoffed at suggestions of a £20 billion bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The first minister questioned the “feasibility and deliverability” of such a project after Downing Street announced that Boris Johnson had tasked “a range of government officials” to examine the proposal.
Mr Johnson first floated the idea in an interview in 2018, saying: “What we need to do is build a bridge between our islands. Why don’t we? Why don’t we?”
Asked about the proposal at a climate conference on Tuesday, the first minister smirked.
She said: “I’m really ambitious for Scotland and its connections with our closest neighbours and the rest of the world.
“To say there are some big questions around the feasibility and deliverability of the suggested bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland would be an understatement. Far be it for me to point out this would not be the first bridge that Boris Johnson has promised and failed to deliver.
“If he wants to prove that it can be done and it’s feasible and deliverable then, you know, let’s see where he gets to but it’s deep water with a munitions dump at the bottom. There are some big questions.”
Professor Alan Dunlop, who splits his time between Robert Gordon and Liverpool universities, has mapped two potential bridge routes — one from Larne to Portpatrick, costing around £20 billion, and another route from the Mull of Kintyre to Torr Head potentially costing between £12 billion and £15 billion.
Ms Sturgeon said that cash could be better spent elsewhere.
“I guess if I was saying to him you’ve got £20 billion available to build a bridge, I’m pretty sure me and equally the first minister of Northern Ireland could find lots of things to spend that on right now that would be really useful.
“I’m happy to take take the £20bn Boris, but maybe not spend it on your latest bridge.”