Scotland to be cut free as closure of bridge that connects the UK announced

Europe’s oldest surviving iron chain suspension bridge under threat

Forget demands for a referendum or calls for independence: the ties linking Scotland to England are literally crumbling.

The Union Chain Bridge, Europe’s oldest surviving iron chain suspension bridge, has welcomed visitors to either Scotland or England since 1820 when it was built with the intention of strengthening ties between the two nations.

But it is now facing closure with both Northumberland and Scottish Borders Councils considering shutting the structure entirely, citing a hefty repair bill of £4.7million.

The bridge stretches nearly 130 metres over the River Tweed to connect the Scottish village of Fishwick to Horncliffe on the English bank and is widely considered an engineering miracle. Emblazoned on the bridge along with roses and thistles is the maxim ‘Vis Unita Fortior’ or United Strength is Stronger.

Yet officials responsible for the its maintenance have decreed that only one vehicle at a time can now cross on safety grounds.

Heather Robson, who runs a beekeeping company on English side of the Tweed, said: “One of my neighbours jokes that he doesn’t want the Latin inscription to be known in case nationalists come and stage a protest. But on one end of the bridge, someone has scrawled ‘Free Scotland’.”

She added: “It’s important nationally and internationally. and I’m surprised both councils in Scotland and England don’t do more to promote it.”

Tensions are mounting over which council is responsible for the fate of the bridge, which is set to be decided later this year. A spokesman for Scottish Borders Council admitted that closure remained a “possibility” but said Northumberland County Council was the “lead authority” for the plans.

He added: “We have a joint responsibility, and are working together to allow the refurbishment of the bridge to take place. Several organisations, including the Berwick Preservation Trust, are keen to secure its long-term future.”

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “We appreciate the interest in this historic bridge and, with that in mind, we have undertaken an in-depth structural review of the bridge to ascertain its maintenance requirements. We are looking into various options and funding strategies with the Scottish Borders Council.”

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee