The subject of a fixed link between the Isle of Wight and the mainland rages on, as it has done for decades. The latest buzz is surrounding two online petitions, one calling for either a tunnel or bridge, the other against the idea of a fixed link.
The pro-fixed link campaign is being driven by Carl Feeney and Kevin Price. Their e-petition on the Government’s website has attracted almost 900 signatures so far and they’ve also set up an area for discussion on Facebook.
Their petition reads,
We need a Fixed link tunnel to Isle of Wight. It’s such a hassle to get on/off the island, and expensive! Also with the recent accident on the Wightlink ferry, and red funnel traffic issues in east Cowes, which caused mayhem, these are another reason why we need it!
A fixed-link referendum
On their Facebook page, Kevin and Carl say they’ve “had the assurances from Andrew Turner MP that a referendum will be held if it is felt the majority of Islanders want it”.
It goes on to add the Ministry of Transport holds a £6billion fund for infrastructure projects in the South to the year 2021.
MP rejects support for referendum
Andrew Turner’s office have been in touch since publishing this article to say that Mr Price and Feeney have misinterpreted the MP’s support for a referendum.
His office says that during a surgery meeting with Mr Price and Feeney, Mr Turner said they should find out what people think and that he wanted to concentrate on improving the ferries at the moment.
The subject of a referendum was then raised by Mr Price and Feeney and the MP agreed that would be one way of finding out what people think, but “it was not support for a referendum”.
We were told, “To say he supported a referendum would not be accurate.”
Against a fixed link
The fixed link debate clearly has two sides to it, many Islanders, although unhappy about ferry costs and service levels, are very much against a fixed-link.
So as you’d expect a counter petition has been set up. At time of publishing, the petition set up by Leif Marriner had attracted just under 180 signatures and reads,
Say No to the Isle if Wight Fixed Link. There is another petition saying yes to a fixed link. So this petition is for all of us who want to say no.. Make your voice be heard before the 2015 referendum.
We’re sure the fixed-link debate will continue on as it has done for decades. The question is, whether the talk will develop into tangible action.
Tunnel to Ireland?
The Belfast Telegraph has recently reported on the recommendations of a think tank to build an underwater tunnel linking Anglesey to a major port on the east coast of Ireland in order to improve the links between Ireland and the UK and mainland Europe.
However, the plans appear to be pipedreams for the think tank, as the Prime Minister of Ireland has stated the tunnel is unrealistic due to costs, which are comparable to the cost of the HS2 London to Birmingham project, a staggering £15 billion!
Thanks to John R for the link to that news.
Further reading (and comments)
Jonathan Dodd: Bridging the Gap
Daft Old Duffer: A Glimpse Into The Future?
Building Bridges: Fixed Link To The Island or Not?
Letter: Would A Fixed Link Encourage More Business?
Letter: No chance of a fixed link
Letter: How about a semi-fixed link to Lymington?
Letter: Would a railway bridge solve the road bridge concerns?
Article edit 14.20:
Under the sub-heading: A fixed-link referendum – Amended reference to funding for the country to for the south