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An investigation into the possibility of building a bridge linking Scotland with Northern Ireland cost the taxpayer almost £900,000, the department for transport (DfT) has admitted.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson commissioned a study into the feasibility of connecting mainland UK with Northern Ireland, either by bridge or via a tunnel.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy led the investigation, which found that a bridge would cost £335bn and a tunnel would come in at around £209bn.

Part of the problem was the existence of a million tonnes of unexploded munitions dumped in an underwater trench along the most direct route, between the First World War and the 1970s.

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Sir Peter’s report concluded that the project would be impossible to justify and the idea was abandoned by the government.

The DfT said the research into a bridge, called a fixed link feasibility study, cost £896,680.67.

A wider review of connectivity in the UK carried out at the same time cost £1,102,525.40.

It added that the total cost for both projects was £1,999,206.07 and was the amount spent on consultancy services and staff costs.