Undersea tunnel linking Dumfries & Galloway and Northern Ireland could be approved next month, according to reports 

Plans for an undersea tunnel between Portpatrick in Dumfries & Galloway and Larne in Northern Ireland could be approved as early as next month, according to reports. 

Proposals for a 25-mile tunnel spanning the Irish Sea have been supported by parts of the rail industry.

When a link was first proposed it drew criticism because of its proximity to the underwater World War 2 munitions dump at Beaufort's Dyke.

A review of the project ordered by the prime minister has now suggested the idea should be looked at 'very seriously'. 

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Jim Steer, of the High-Speed Rail Group, which submitted the proposals said: “Our suggestion is that this should be looked at very seriously. It represents the considered view of the High-Speed Rail Group, which comprises over 20 of the biggest companies involved in high-speed rail in the UK and the Railway Industry Association.”

Originally the Prime Minister floated the idea of a bridge becoming the first ever fixed link between all four nations of the United Kingdom. But Scottish Secretary and Dumfries & Galloway MP Alister Jack suggested a tunnel could be a better option.

In March last year the economic think tank, Fraser of Allander Institute, said the idea would not even feature in the top 10 infrastructure priorities.

The economic think tank, based at the University of Strathclyde, was dismissive of the proposal in a scathing blog post.

The think tank said: "Firstly, those hoping that building a bridge (tunnel or giant catapult even) will automatically be a catalyst for faster economic growth in both Scotland and Northern Ireland will be sorely disappointed."