England

Morecambe Bay road tunnel call by MP David Morris

Morecambe Bay Image copyright Kevin Pearson
Image caption The road tunnel would run under Morecambe Bay

A proposal to build a 15-mile road tunnel under Morecambe Bay has been suggested in Parliament.

David Morris, Conservative MP for Morecambe, said a link between Heysham and Barrow would benefit business.

He told Transport Minister Robert Goodwill it would also help hospitals on either side of the bay.

Mr Goodwill said the government wanted to boost growth through road improvements and suggested he approach Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP).

LEPs - boards of business people and councillors in charge of developing local economies - were set up by the coalition after Regional Development Agencies were scrapped.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate, Mr Morris said a road link under Morecombe Bay would cut travelling time from an hour and a half to under 30 minutes.

"On the Cumbria coast there are BAE Systems and Sellafield and the national nuclear laboratory", he said.

'Bold vision'

"If the workers at Heysham power station in my constituency could access these sites more easily it would create a greater scope for them to work together.

"It would also improve communications between hospitals in the Morecambe Bay Trust, as it is currently difficult to transport staff and patients between ones on either side of the bay."

No costing has been made for creating the tunnel and Mr Morris said there was still much work to be done on the subject of funding.

Its 15-mile length would mean it would be equal in size to Norway's Laerdal Tunnel, which is the longest road tunnel in the world

Mr Goodwill described Mr Morris's plan as "a bold vision".

He said: "The government believes it is local people and organisations which are best placed to understand the needs of areas and support and boost growth.

"Therefore, while I support my honourable friend's ambition, at this stage I would suggest he engages actively with the Lancashire and Cumbria LEPs to promote this further."

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