A DELEGATION of Scottish MPs will visit the Faroe Islands next week to take a look at a new undersea tunnel linking two communities.

The 10.2 kilometre tunnel, which cost roughly £9.8 million per km, will link the main island of Streymoy with Sandoy to the south and is expected to open just before Christmas.

It is the fourth undersea tunnel to open up in the islands, with the nation also being famous for the world’s first under-sea roundabout – part of the Eysturoyartunnilin connecting the islands of Streymoy and Eysturoy.

The chair of the Faroe Islands Parliamentary Group and Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil will travel on Friday, December 1, to get a first glimpse of the new tunnel alongside Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael and Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan.

READ MORE: Angus MacNeil: Faroe Islands show worth of undersea tunnels

MacNeil said he hopes the trip will point Scottish focus towards the huge benefits of island tunnels, which have cut travel times significantly in the Faroes at a fraction of the cost of HS2, part of which has now been pulled.

He said: “This isn’t the most complex tunnel and they’re doing this at quite incredible costs. For the price of phase one of HS2, the Faroese could build a tunnel from Torshavn to Cape Town in South Africa.

“The real purpose of going to see it is to highlight in Scotland what’s happening and make people start to think why we aren’t we doing the same. We’re hoping to see some of the local community as well and hear from them about what they feel about the tunnel.

“It’s either we get serious about tunnels or we continue moaning about ferries.

“This will put Scottish focus hopefully on what is happening in the Faroe Islands. This isn’t pie in the sky idea, it’s a real tunnel under the sea.

“For the cost of the two boats sitting on the Clyde at the moment, you could have built about 40km of tunnels in Scotland at Faroese prices.

“The way I see it is a ferry is a tunnel that opens only four times a day and goes between 9mph and 18mph. A tunnel is a ferry that’s open all the time and travels at 50mph.”

MacNeil has insisted subsea tunnels can not only help speed up travel times between island communities but land tunnels – which are also prevalent in the Faroe Islands – could improve problems the Rest and Be Thankful faces in Argyll.

READ MORE: Subsea tunnels between Shetland isles 'could boost economy'

Talks to connect a number of the Shetland islands with tunnels are at an “advanced stage”, the islands’ council has said in September.

Shetland’s inter-island ferry service has been described as “the social and economic backbone” of the islands, with a fleet of 12 vessels sailing around 70,000 times a year to nine islands, carrying around 750,000 passengers.

However, the council raised concerns that much of the fleet is 30 years old, about six years older than the average Caledonian MacBrayne vessel.

MacNeil said: “We’ve very grateful to the Faroese for giving us a preview before it opens.”

Cowan added: “The visit to the Faroe Islands affords me the opportunity to engage with a community that have led the world in undersea tunnelling and superfast broadband.

"I am also curious about their constitutional arrangements with Denmark. 

"I admire their ‘can do’ attitude and I am always looking to small successful countries to see what we in Scotland can learn from them."