Proposal made for tunnel to link Western Isles with mainland Scotland

A tunnel between the Western Isles and mainland Scotland has been put forward as a possible transport solution by the Scottish Government.

A 17-mile-long, dual carriageway-width subsea link running under the Little Minch could connect Benbecula with Skye, making the mainland a car trip away. But experts reckon it could cost £450million.

Rarnish on the east coast of Benbecula to Neist Point on Skye is the shortest direct distance between the two locations and has been suggested as potential landfall sites, according to a report by the Daily Record.

The Western Isles Council held discussions last week about the tunnel plan and agreed to hold a seminar on the issue.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced support for a tunnel or bridge connecting mainland Scotland to Northern Ireland.

In 2019, Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil held talks with Norwegian consultants over the potential of subsea tunnels linking Hebridean islands.

Norconsult has led projects to construct tunnels in Norway and the Faroes. Following discussions with MacNeil, the consultants prepared a brief suggesting a tunnel between Harris and Skye as the best option with a possible additional inter-island link between Harris and North Uist.

MacNeil said tunnels were a serious option for the islands as a means of reducing reliance on the ferry network and making savings in the long term, said the report.

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