A STUDY looking into the feasibility of a fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland cost taxpayers almost £900,000.

The research commissioned by Boris Johnson found that it would be too expensive to build a bridge or tunnel linking the two countries.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the investigation led by Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy cost £896,681.

Hendy found that a bridge would cost £335 billion, while a tunnel would require a budget of around £209bn.

His report concluded that the project “would be impossible to justify” as “the benefits could not possibly outweigh the costs”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson's plan for bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland shelved

In addition to the huge expense, the inquiry also noted that the necessary work would be incredibly challenging.

The report described how Beaufort’s Dyke – an underwater trench on the most direct route between Scotland and Northern Ireland – would need to be “carefully surveyed” due to a million tons of unexploded munitions being dumped there between the First World War and the 1970s.

Johnson previously talked up the creation of a fixed link but accepted the conclusion of the report.

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The SNP's shadow Scotland secretary, Mhairi Black MP (pictured below), hit out at the UK Government for the "wasted" money used on the report but called for the billions promised to Scotland and Northern Ireland through the project to be delivered.

Black said: "We knew from the beginning this wouldn’t happen, and now it has been revealed that the UK Government wasted close to £1 million of taxpayers' money on a feasibility study on its unworkable, doomed from the get-go idea.

“This just goes to show the Tories’ warped spending priorities. How many lateral flow tests could this have bought, or nurses salaries paid, or PPE purchased for those on the frontline in this pandemic?

“However, as daft as this idea was, it still promised to put £20bn of investment into the Scottish and Northern Irish economies. The Prime Minister must honour the spending commitments he made and deliver that money to Scotland and Northern Ireland so they can use it for worthwhile infrastructure proposals.

“The UK Government said it was ‘deadly serious’ about these proposals – it's time to come good on its words and deliver the investment."

The National: Mhairi Black

READ MORE: Cost of bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland revealed in government report

The research was carried out alongside a wider review of connectivity in the UK, which cost £1,102,525.

The DfT said the total of £1,999,206 for both studies was the amount spent on consultancy fees and department staff costs.

Hendy led the review alongside his role at Network Rail, and did not receive additional pay.