Undersea tunnels linking France to Channel Islands under discussion

Campaigners say the rail tunnels could take 10 years to build

Natalie Wilson
Thursday 07 March 2024 14:59 GMT
Shuttle trains between Jersey and Guernsey could take just 15 minutes
Shuttle trains between Jersey and Guernsey could take just 15 minutes (Getty Images)

Two roadshows this week discussed the proposal of undersea tunnels linking France to the Channel Islands.

The Connect 3 Million campaign, founded in 2019 by local entrepreneur Martyn Dorey, aims to “provide a fixed link between the Channel Islands and France for the long-term economic, environmental and social future of the region”.

International experts at the Jersey and Guernsey roadshows explored the economic, social and cultural benefits of the tunnels, as well as how feasible the project is and its potential role in tackling the housing crisis.

The multi-billion-pound tunnel between Guernsey and France via Jersey could take 10 years to build at an estimated cost of £25m per kilometre and an additional £100m for each of the three underground stations.

Proposed shuttle trains from stations located in St Peter Port, Jersey Airport and Saint Helier could be as quick as 15 minutes for commuters travelling between Jersey and Guernsey.

Economic development minister Kirsten Morel said: “If we want to tackle the housing crisis, this is really one way we could do that. If we want to make sure food arrives every day, then this is one way to do that.

“I believe that if you put in the infrastructure, people will come.”

The project was inspired by the sub-seabed links in the Faroe Islands north of Scotland. Teitur Samuelsen, CEO of the Faroe Islands tunnel corporation and Arild Søvik, network director of the Norwegian Tunnelling Society, were both in attendance as speakers at the roadshow discussions.

Connect 3 Million estimates 8,000 journeys a day in each direction between Jersey and Guernsey if the tunnels were approved.

France would have to be on board with phase two of the scheme – connecting Jersey to mainland France – for the undersea link to be successful.

Project co-founder Martyn Dorey said: “Making it easier for everyone to reach the Channel Islands will transform the future for everyone. Our economies are strong but are being held back when we all need them to expand further.

“This innovation will herald a boom across financial services, tourism and beyond.”

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