Legal entity to promote Isle of Wight fixed link formed

A not-for-profit association has been formed to campaign for a road-based fixed link from the Isle of Wight to the UK Mainland.

Soletn Tunnel

This in from Thomas Cowley on behalf of the Solent Tunnel Pro-Link Campaign Association. Ed


Pro-Link Campaign Association is pleased to confirm the formation of a not-for-profit association on 18th March 2015. The association has been formed according to best practice processes, to raise funds with two objectives:

  • To campaign for a road-based fixed link from the Isle of Wight to the UK Mainland, with an option to include a light railway/tram line function.
  • To ensure fair charges and terms of use are provided in any FL Operating Contract

How you can donate
A bank account and PayPal account have been set up so donations can be accepted. The details of these are:

Barclays Bank, St James Square, Newport
Sort Code 20-60-55
Account 73023761

PayPal address for donations is donations@solentfixedlink.net

Campaign group
The members of the group will continue the work of campaigning, further invigorated by the formation of this new official body to help us gain the most effective voice.

The work done so far has helped many people to understand the benefits a fixed link could bring to the Isle of Wight.

Benefits of a fixed link
An example of just one benefit is ensuring the Isle of Wight workforce has greater choice leading to wages similar to those on the other side of the Solent.

This alone could deliver up to an additional £640 million per year benefit to the Isle of Wight economy.

1998 feasibility study
We have also been working to secure the public release of the comprehensive 1998 feasibility study.

This was completed by Isle of Wight Training and Enterprise Council. A copy is held at the County Record Office. It contains much useful information that is still valid and can help drive the discussion forward in an objective and well-informed manner.

The committee members of the association are:

Carl Feeney – Chair
Chris Dodd – Secretary
Thomas Cowley – Treasurer
Linda Bassett
Rob Forrest
Kevin Price

For more information and to follow the campaign see the Pro-Link Campaign Association Website, join the Facebook Group and follow on Twitter.

Image: © Robert Forrest

Friday, 20th March, 2015 12:05pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2cUA

Filed under: Ferry, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Travel

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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89 Comments on "Legal entity to promote Isle of Wight fixed link formed"

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tiki

This is an April Fools joke – right? The people of the Isle of Wight haven’t been asked if they want a fixed link, this is a waste of money. What will happen to any donations if the tunnel isn’t built?

I'll Get Flamed

So let’s have a referendum and ask the people!

So far, all we have to go are unofficial polls (e.g. the Isle of Wight Radio poll) and the e-petitions (for and against). All of these polls show a majority in favour.

Tim

We haven’t been asked if we don’t want a fixed link either!

Rod Manley

I was asked the other day, I said yes, bring it on!

tiki

1998 feasibility study … are you serious? That was 17 years ago.

I'll Get Flamed

…. and in that time, the ferry service has declined and the prices have increased! I agree though that we need an updated study. Let’s get one!!!

jeffers06

This is not what most Islanders want.It is an ill thought out proposal,and there isn’t any realistic chance that the mainland area they think a tunnel may emerge will accept the destruction of the beautiful,and protected,area around Titchfield Haven.There is nowhere suitable on the mainland for a fixed link to be sited to the Island.

I'll Get Flamed
With respect Jeffers06 you don’t know what most Islanders want. Neither do I nor any of the other readers. Let’s have a referendum to find out what they really want. As for the specific proposal, that is just one option. The 1998 feasibility study looked at 7 or 8 possible options. At the pro-linkers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they fail… Read more »
jeffers06
It is a conundrum. And you are right to point out that I don’t know for sure who is for or against, it may well be worth having a referendum,to gauge opinion. Tunnel or bridge though would make no difference to there being no area suitable from Hayling Island to Lymington to site a link to the Island. Until such time that this is resolved,there is little… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

Have you seen the 1998 feasibility study?
http://solentfixedlink.net/a-summary-of-the-1998-feasibility-study/

Probably not as those opposed to a fixed link don’t seem to want it in the public domain! Probably, because it says a fixed link is technically and financially feasible!

ThomasC

Jeffers – there are plenty of suitable landing sites and some which are already available…

Vix Lowthion

I hope that any funds are spent on either 2015 feasibility study, or Solent specific impact assessments (environmental, economic, social) or a referendum. Those are the basics that are necessary before anything could go ahead.

Colin

yawn
.
.
.zzzzzz

Robert Jones

A road link would be disastrous. A rail link was proposed some 40 years ago, by a group of which I was a member as it happens, and it remains the only feasible option IF a fixed link is an option at all.

Look at the road traffic on the island NOW, for God’s sake – and the season hasn’t even started yet.

ThomasC

Why would it be disasterous? Why would all of this traffic suddenly descend on us?

If it did, why wouldn’t it be a good thing? Think of the extra income for currently failing IW businesses, or maybe you would prefer that the IW continues to die on its feet?

The ancient Matelot

They would only need to look at the IW parking fees to be put off! So not much help to business:)

Terry
A fixed link would bring mass crime to the island, burglars and other criminals would be able to drive over, fill their cars and be gone before anyone even knew they had been to the island. I lived and worked in Oxfordshire when the M40 opened and crime rates went up exponentially as soon as it opened because criminals could arrive and disappear in the blink of… Read more »
ThomasC
Terry, aside from anecdotal and irrelevant evidence, what are you basing this judgement on? ANPR on the link would be able to ID vehicles on and off the Island and link criminals to the location very accurately. Also, given that we are significantly the poorest location in the SE region, why would criminals come to commit crime, where they’re charged and logged on entry and exit? Statistically,… Read more »
James

Would be very interested to hear where the “£640 million” figure is from,

It’s essential an independent report is done with reliable figures and impact assessment if people want to make a fixed link a reality,

This could then be debated and scrutinised, allowing the people of the Island to make an informed decision as to whether a fixed link is the way forward.

Cynic

It would not be just an Island decision but also the decision of visitors and residents on the landfall side of the Solent. So the referendum would need to be far more widespread than just the Island, maybe nation-wide if taxpayers’ money were planned to be used to fund and operate a fixed limk.

So a referendum of 135,000 people or 60 million?

Tim

Who needs a referendum anyway, did they have one for the Skye Bridge or Channel Tunnel? Opinion polls to date indicate that islanders are massively in favour, why not just get started before those clapped out ferries finally leave us isolated?

Cynic
Tim- maybe a poor choice of examples. :-)) The Skye Bridge had to be taken bank into ownership by the Scottish government because the private company was ripping off the Islanders. The UK government has just sold off its holding in the Channel Tunnel ( just like the tradeable investment vehicles owend by Macquarie and currently held by BBIP and VINCI/Meridiam. (BTW it is not possible to… Read more »
Tim

Not really, no broken down ferry to wait for on the Skye crossing

Cynic

…. and no broken down trains in the Channel Tunnel causing lengthy delays? :-))

Cynic

BTW Tim a Solent bridge would need to be up to 3 times the length of the Skye Bridge with a lifting central span to allow shipping to pass. Skye Bridge does not need such a lifting span.

I'll Get Flamed

Cicero – isn’t it interesting that the Scottish Government were able to take the Skye bridge back into public ownership. Similarly, the Severn Bridge Act provides for a public takeover once the investment costs have been recovered. A fixed link project can be regulated in such a way. What protection do we have from the ferry companies? None!

Cynic

IGF- what is less interesting to taxpayers is the penalty price they had to pay the PFI operator to take it back into state control.

Like Skye Islanders, they were conned all the way through the debacle by the PFI people for whom it was a win-win project.

I'll Get Flamed

Cicero – I’ve never been a fan of PFI. In fact you and I have supported each other many times on that particular subject. However, today we are in perpetual PFI hell with the ferry companies! We are paying massive interest to their private equity owners with no end of contract in sight.

peaceful_life
@Tim. It’s a very big mistake to try and use the Skye bridge as a yardstick of viability, it seems to be a recurring reference in pushing for an IOW FL, do some research on it and apart from the fact that, as Cicero pointed out, that the people forced* the Scot-gov to take it into public hands (incurring much cost), ask yourself why Scot-gov are now… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

UK infrastructure is in decline? Why is the Government investing in projects such as HS2? Airport expansion? Governments like big infrastructure projects as they create jobs and generate an economic return. Governments do not like investing in ferry companies!

Cynic
“UK infrastructure is in decline? Why is the Government investing in projects such as HS2?” Trying to win votes in the North and NorthEast. “Airport expansion?” More landing fees for the offshore companies that own them. However, you are right in that infrastructural projects do boost the economy but only if they are funded by the state. Private funding just mortgages the future of our children and… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
If lack of funding is really an issue, those opposed to a FL have nothing to worry about. There’s an inherent conflict in the argument, “you can’t have a FL because nobody will fund it”. If there is genuinely a funding problem then no need for you to worry. My view is that the business case for a FL is a lot better than the business case… Read more »
Vix Lowthion

I believe such a project as a FL would need planning permission? Thus there’d be opportunity for public consultation – even if you’d prefer to avoid a referendum.

ThomasC
The £640 million figure is simple. In 2011 the census recorded that the mean IW income was £18k. In Hampshire our- nearest neighbour – it was recorded as £26k. With more fluid and effective movement from IW to Hampshire and back we are likely to gain wage parity with Hampshire (and lower unemployment). There are 80,000 people of working age on the IW – multiply that by… Read more »
sums not adding up

You are forgetting the £10K per year it will cost workers to use the bridge. What £10K you ask? Well the newly formed pro link group state even the cheapest route will cost £20 each way, 250 working days per year = £10k. Net result £2K less money to spend per year! yep, that’ll boost the Island economy.

James
It’s important to realise the sorts of industry in both places, cities such as Southampton and Portsmouth for example, are more likely to have larger quantities of higher paying jobs, in graduate level positions. For everyone on the Island to gain this additional £8,000 it would require many of the Island workers to take up jobs in Hampshire in these positions. Wage disparities between regions exist up… Read more »
Peter Daws

Don’t go crazy and spend the £3.00 this is likely to raise all at once. What a pointless waste of time, someone’s clearly got too much time on their hands, if you don’t like things how they are – move!

milly

I was unsure before but now I think we should have a fixed link. Particularly because of Wightlink’s attitude and it seems more possible now since various people are saying so.

retired Hack
Recently I’ve noticed a mutation of Godwin’s Law on this site. As any discussion involving the fixed link, and/or Wightlink/Red Funnel, grows longer, the probability of someone (you, in this case, PD) coming on and saying: “If you don’t like it, move,” approaches one. Like you I oppose the fixed link, but I prefer reasoned argument (mine being that it would change the character of the island… Read more »
Don Smith

PD Writes, ‘If you don’t like things how they are – move!’

What a negative outlook to a very practical necessity.

Had they not built ferries we’d still be swimming across to the mainland. Progress, move on and get with-it.

Kev
For a start, the island is not the only place in the UK with red squirrels, and do you really think they are going to run through a tunnel with noisy vehicles?? They won’t even go near it! If we get enough donations we will be paying for an up to date feasibility study but at the moment its for further adverts etc in the media.. If… Read more »
Kev

You will be very surprised how many people have offered to donate… Including large amounts from island businesses!!

mat
In recent times the Trades Unions, particularly the regional secretary of UNITE, has supported a fixed link. It is now not difficult to do as the cross rail technology has proven. The 140,000+ population cannot remain isolated. If the fixed link was to Ryde, for example, the low pay would have to be raised because people would simply and quickly, take jobs in Portsmouth so Ryde wages… Read more »
Cynic

Mat “In recent times the Trades Unions, particularly the regional secretary of UNITE, has supported a fixed link.”

Not surprisng really! If the fixed link employees were all members of UNITE, the union could hold the operating company (and Islanders) to ransom. Back to the conditions of the 60s and 70s.

Cynic
…. at that time I was in an aircraft flying from LHR to Paris CDG. After take-off the pilot informed us that we would have to turn back as CDG was fogged out. But LHR was closed owing to the airport firemen being on strike, so the alternative airport was Manchester- 200 miles behind where we had started from adding two hours plus waiting time to the… Read more »
Rod Manley

It’s the THWART Toffs and Seely’s Countryside Alliance that are the loudest agin it, let’s have it I say.

Dalek
Lots of assertions & assumptions that things would be better without any real evidence. Lots of assumptions of what people want or don’t want, again without any real, verifiable evidence. Let’s face it, this issue has been on the agenda since they first thought of putting a rail link in before the war. I think it will most likely remain a discussion point for many many years… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

So can we have a proper study to produce verifiable evidence either way?

Cynic

Yes- who will pay for it? And a subsequent nationwide referendum?

ThomasC
In May we have access to EU Assisted Area Status funding for the IW. That could pay for it. The LEP has access to £550m capital infrastructure funding. That could pay for it. The National infrastructure plan includes £1.5bn for a six-lane 2km SECOND Mersey crossing that will generate around £61m per year and cut journey times in that area by *gasp* 10 minutes. Some of that… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

If we raise the funds to pay for the referendum will you agree to honour the result?

Not sure about the Nationwide referendum … you previously said the area on the mainland impacted.

Cynic

IGF- yes I would honour the result if I can inspect the phrasing of question and know the target area for distributing the referendum beforehand.

Caconym
Has anyone else noticed the glaring inconsistency in the anti link argument. On the one hand they complain that the bridge will put off tourists because “we won’t be an island any more” and in almost the same breath complain that it will result in too many cars on the road. Make your minds up. Are more visitors a good or bad thing and will a fixed… Read more »
block8

Fixed link to the Isle of Wight?

No thank you very much.

milly

Fixed link to the Isle of Wight?

Yes Please.

kevin1746

what a load of crap,,, I don’t know a single person in favour of a road link and why would anybody want to build one…we have nothing to offer, no industry, no produce…so why would anybody build a bridge so a few peoiple could shop on the mainland…..

Its all just imagination

Now a Rail bridge…theres an idea

yjciow

Re: ROD MANLEY’S comment. THWART have nothing to do with a fixed link and have not commented. You need to retract your comment and get your facts right before commenting.

Dave Jones
Currently, I travel every weekend to Portsmouth. The journey takes 10 minutes, with a further 10 minutes to my destination on the mainland. I appreciate that the Fastcat and Hovercraft may not stop if a tunnel is built, but both companies are private enterprises and will cease to operate if they are not making enough money. Assuming that the tunnel will go from somewhere around Cowes to… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

Dave – I can understand your concern, however I don’t believe a fixed link would kill foot passenger ferries. A lot depends on the route. In the event that the fixed link was in the west of the Island there would clearly still be a need for, and a strong business case, for a passenger ferry between Ryde and Portsmouth.

The Ancient Matelot
This is true. But if Wightlink decide that the business case is not strong enough for them and that they will not make enough profit, they can just up sticks and leave. I am not sure who owns the land on the Portsmouth side – probably Network Rail – but on this side, they own the (road part) of Ryde Pier and the Pier head so cannot… Read more »
Chris

A single track for light rail? Presumably they envisage a low capacity vehicle, so that’s one short train managing at best one returner trip an hour – good luck with the business case!

Steephill Jack
Q. And where will the tunnel emerge on the Island ? A. Not in My Back Yard. Q. And who will fund the road infrastructure that will distribute that road traffic across the Island ? A. Not Island Roads because it isn’t in their contract. Q. And who will widen all those narrow roads and rural lanes to cope with the extra vehicles ? A. Not Island… Read more »
Phil Marsh
Irrespective of the merits or otherwise about a fixed link, my 42 years as a professional railwayman tell me that there is a requirement for a level access emergency evacuation route from any such railway tunnel. The illustration suggests otherwise and the couple of fires in the Chunnel demonstrate why such level emergency access is essential. I have been on private visits to the North Downs Tunnel… Read more »
davimel
Already we can see that whatever the outcome there will be groups who will either ignore a vote, or question the result. The same folk would obviously refuse to use a fixed link which would leave extra space for those who do! Whatever the result, whatever the design, the Island will, once again, be split and the whole process thrown into disarray! My opinion is that a… Read more »
ebod

I like the idea of a tunnel. We need to bring our island out of decline so I’m all for improving accessibility – that’s got to be good for tourism, commuters and business investment.

The island has been in decline for years, our towns are tired, we need to be progressive.

bigEars
Putting aside the merits of a fixed link for a moment, am I the only one who has noticed that the truly wonderful tunnel cross section illustrated in this article is at least 20 metres in diameter. I realise that the IW is lauded far and wide for our outside-the-envelope thinking, but perhaps a tunnel that you can fly a helicopter along is beyond even our capabilities.… Read more »
Michael Cox
THIS FOR ONE IS A NON STARTER.BEFORE WW1 THEY WERE TALKLING ABOUT TUNNEL,BUT DUE TO COSTS AND WAR ,IT WAS CANCELLED.tHEY TRIED AGAIN IN THE 50S,AGAIN COSTS ASTRENOMICOL,CANCELLED OUT.THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN,WHY THINK IN THIS AGE YOU WOULD NEVER GET THE £bILLIONS NEEDED.ALSO THE ISLAND NEEDS THE MONEY FOR ITSELF ,NOT THE FLAMING TUNNEL.imY WIFE AND ME ARE ISLANDERS AND WE HATE THE IDEA.WE DONT TUNNEL,WITH NO… Read more »
bigEars

Michael, if you oil the cap-lock key on your keyboard with, say, best butter you may be able to hear better and you won’t feel you need to shout.

Don Smith

Being an islander Michael will not realize he’s shouting.

And we do not all have bigEar’s :-)

The ancient Matelot

Depends – If he is an ex-radio operator in the services – everything was typed in capitals! :))

ebod
Having a failing secondary education system with fewer employment prospects for future generations isn’t as “cute” as it may be for the older generations who can live out their retirement in relative peace and isolation here. Perhaps the subject keeps coming up because there is a genuine wish and want? A bridge doesn’t change the fact this is an island, it makes it easier and more appealing… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

The Isle of Wight used to be more than a holiday Island …. ships, hovercraft, aircraft and even rockets used to be built here.

Isla White

They did indeed and all without the need for a tunnel or bridge. I wonder how that could have happened?

The ancient Matelot

Correct!

I'll Get Flamed

… so where are those industries now?

Steephill Jack

It was the same on the mainland in those days.
Where has it gone ? Eastern Europe and the Far East.

davimel
You are coming over as a somewhat archetypical Islander, both with the shouting (which is probably accidental) and the attitude of WE don’t like it and sod the rest because WE are ‘Islanders’. Life will go on just the same with or without a fixed link.. Your homes will remain your castles and the bigotry could even be shared out with the tourists, giving the rest of… Read more »
Bill Moore
As someone new to this website, I would like to start by asking a few questions What would be the cost of either a bridge or a tunnel? What would be the toll charges? Where on the island, and the mainland would the entrance to the fixed link be? How high would a bridge have to be to allow shipping to enter the Solent. Would a bridge… Read more »
Geoff 21
Regarding the IWCP headline a fixed-link has been ‘feasible’ for more than a century. The demographic skew of the Island population towards an ever more aged population seems evident from the resistance to change of AFLAG and others. For those on a fixed income with no particular reason to travel and comfortable circumstances it must seem likely that tourism (and the cost of servants) would increase whilst… Read more »
The Ancient Matelot
Geoff, Unfortunately you fall into the usual trap of thinking that all people who are retired are just sitting at home not contributing anything to the Island. This is far from the truth here, or anywhere else. Most pensioners continue to do work, mostly voluntary, for all sorts of organisations which benefit society as a whole; and without such volunteers society would collapse. I moved to the… Read more »
Geoff 21
Ancient Matelot greetings, Yes, I also qualify to live in Wrinkle Street and shall work until physically incapable. My children grew up here and, sadly, suffered the educational consequences. Quite correctly you point out that many, perhaps most, people when they retire still want to contribute, albeit voluntarily. I also do voluntary work here and have helped an Island Society who were willing to attempt entry to… Read more »
sandy50

Would be so nice to just get in my car and drive across
to the New Forest for a picnic or visit my sister in
Chichester.
Of course we should have a fixed link its a no brainer.

Cicero

With respect, perhaps the real “no brain” about the fixed link is to expect that it would be any cheaper than ferries to cross the Solent if it was built with PFI money and not state money.

sandy50

I don’t know of any bridges that charge £60 for a day return.
The last time I went to Anglesey it was free.

Cicero

Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark- about the same length as a possible Solent Bridge- AND it was built using State money!

Cicero

Return toll is 94 euros (£66,74))

sandy50

cost you that for a cup of tea in Sweden.

Cicero

…. and it’s a crap cuppa! :-))

Geoff 21

Actually, that’s £60 (or more) single, at the moment.