MP’s tunnel vision call

Brendan O'Hara, MP with Mr Uni Danielsen, Managing Director of Nordoyatunniln .
Brendan O'Hara, MP with Mr Uni Danielsen, Managing Director of Nordoyatunniln .

Argyll & Bute MP Brendan O’Hara (SNP) believes his constituency could learn a great deal from the road tunnel network in the Faroe Islands.

His comments came after a meeting last week at Westminster with Uni Danielsen, managing director of Nordoyatunniln, the company in charge of the Faroese tunnelling project.  

Mr Danielsen’s latest tunnel project, a six kilometre, two-lane road tunnel, is one of the longest in the Faroe Islands and Mr O’Hara was keen to find out more about how they did it and what lesson could be learned by Scotland.

After the meeting, Mr O’Hara said: “Tunnels are a vital part of the Faroese transportation network and has brought them huge economic benefits at a cost of £11 million per kilometre.

“I think this is worth exploring further. I intend visiting Mr Danielsen in the Faroe Islands next year with possibly Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, to see at first-hand how these tunnels are built and to see if such technology could be applied here and other parts of Scotland to connect some or our islands and more remote parts of the constituency to the mainland.”

The Faroe Islands is approximately 200 miles off the north west of Scotland and lies between Norway and Iceland, the country has been building tunnels since the 1960s. There are around 18 tunnels connecting their various islands ranging from 0.5km to 6km in length and with some more currently under construction.

Mr O’Hara added: “Obviously things are at the very, very preliminary stages but I’d like to look at the similarities in the geology of Scotland and the Faroe Islands and I’d like to explore the possible benefits projects like this could bring to Scotland.  

“We have promised to keep in touch and I very much look forward to meeting Mr Danielsen again next year.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Work is now underway to review the National Transport Strategy (NTS) to establish the strategic direction for transport in Scotland over the next 20 years. Part of that work will consider the important issue of connectivity to the country’s islands.

“We intend to consult on the NTS review findings in early 2019 with a view to publishing an updated strategy in summer 2019. The NTS review will inform the work to review the Strategic Transport Projects Review which will identify the transport interventions required to provide Scotland with a transport network fit for the 21st century.

“Our commitment is to a collaborative review and we will be undertaking a programme of engagement with stakeholders and local communities as we take the work forward.”