SENIOR Conservatives are backing plans for a “Great Boris Canal” to move massive quantities of water from Scotland and Wales to England, after droughts were declared across the nation.

Parts of England have had to bring in hosepipe bans and wildfire warnings after several bouts of hot temperatures over the summer, as climate change brings more extreme weather to the UK.

Now Tories are apparently considering the bid for a £14 billion “super canal” connecting southern Scotland to parts of England which are suffering from less rainfall than usual.

Proposals to move water from resource-rich Scotland to other parts of the UK have been floated for years – and while serving as mayor of London, Boris Johnson backed the idea.

The National:

The "Grand Contour Canal"

In 2012 Johnson raised the potential of the Grand Contour Canal – a plan created all the way back in the 1940s – which would shift water through the Scottish Borders and down to England’s south-east.

Speaking then, Johnson said: “The rain it raineth on the just and the unjust, says the Bible, but frankly it raineth a lot more in Scotland and Wales than it doth in England.”

Now senior Tories have told the Daily Mail that they want to revisit the proposal to help the south and Midlands deal with future droughts.

And a spokesperson for the UK Government’s environmental department, Defra, said millions of pounds are being invested in so-called “inter-regional water transfers”.

They said these “can play an important role in moving water from areas of the country with plentiful supplies to those with high demand”.

How are Scottish politicians reacting?

Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said the idea "doesn't float".

"Whether it was the London garden bridge proposal he wasted £40m pounds on and didn't build, or his botched proposals for a tunnel to Northern Ireland, it seems that every grand infrastructure project linked to Boris Johnson ends in failure," he told The National.

"There is no time to waste. Badly thought out and fundamentally unserious proposals like this are no substitute for the climate action that is so sorely lacking from Downing Street."

The National:

Alba's depute leader,and former Scottish Government justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill MP told The National he had serious concerns over the Tory idea.

“It is not acceptable for Scotland’s massive natural resources, be they water, oil and gas or renewables, to be fleeced to meet the needs of the south of England," he said. 

"A super canal from Scotland to the south of England, which would require massive infrastructure investment, would not only be the wrong priority at this time - it would be a kick in the teeth to the many communities in the east coast and south of Scotland that are crying out for investment. 

He went on: “The lesson of North Sea oil and gas from the 1970s onwards and of renewables today is that if Scotland does not take control of it’s own resources through independence then Westminster will not only exercise that power over us but do so to our detriment, with the revenues going south and many of the jobs, in the case of renewables being exported abroad.”

Could this be Johnson's last infrastructure flop?

According to the Mail, the canal could be named after the outgoing Prime Minister – who has promoted a number of major infrastructure projects only for them to never come to fruition.

Dominic Cummings, the PM's former senior adviser, claimed last year that Johnson is obsessed with infrastructure projects which can serve as a "monument to him", comparing them to big projects designed by Roman emperors. 

But unlike Hadrian's Wall, Johnson's schemes have been short-lived.

Johnson’s failed Garden Bridge cost a whopping £53 million – with £43m of that being public cash.

He also promoted the idea of a bridge connecting Scotland to Northern Ireland, which a feasibility study found could cost £335bn.

The construction would have been fraught with a number of difficulties – including the fact that the build would take decades, and would have to go through a part of the ocean filled with millions of tonnes of dumped munitions.

How would the canal work?

This “Boris Canal” would apparently be built along the 310-foot contour of land from Kielder Water reservoir and travel down to the midlands and south, before being extended north and west to create a “natural water grid” connecting Wales, Scotland and England.

According to engineers, the water would be moved through gravity along a gentle gradient to avoid the need for expensive pumping mechanisms.

However, the estimated cost of £14bn – which was provided eight years ago, therefore the cost is likely significantly higher now – plus the project’s feasibility have been cited as reasons for the scheme never having gone ahead.