Sir Peter Hendy will lead the independent review, which will also consider other potential projects including faster road and rail links to Scotland, upgrades to Welsh railways and improvements to major roads.

The review will look at how to boost transport infrastructure across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. As part of the study, Hendy will be exploring the cost, practicality and demand for a new fixed link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Regional ministers have spoken out against the proposed bridge or tunnel (link opens in new tab).

Launching the review, British prime minister Boris Johnson said: “As we build back better from the pandemic, Sir Peter’s review will help make sure we have the right connections to support, sustain and strengthen our communities – to truly level up across the UK.”

Hendy has spent over 45 years working in the transport sector, including as chair of Network Rail and running London’s transport network during the 2012 Olympics.

He said: “Connectivity drives economic growth, jobs and housing. Improving links across the UK on the basis of the wider economic benefits that increased investment will deliver will be of benefit to everyone in the UK, and I’m thus very pleased to lead this work.”

The review will also look to the future, considering the role of future technologies and assessing environmental impacts of current and future infrastructure.

Hendy will be expected to publish his final recommendations in summer 2021, to include advice on how best to improve connections, and whether that includes the need for the UK government to invest in additional infrastructure.