Move to make Isle of Wight’s unique status legally recognised

An Isle of Wight councillor is calling for the Island to be legally recognised as being at a disadvantage and is calling for exemptions to national regulations.

scales of justice graffiti

At next week’s Isle of Wight council full council meeting Cllr Michael Lilley is hoping to garner support for his latest motion.

Government ministers have previously declared they recognise the Island’s unique status, but the Green councillor for Ryde East is asking for the authority to go a step further and lobby for this to be enshrined in legislation.

He believes the Island should be legally recognised as being at a disadvantage to its counterparts on the mainland, and be afforded exemptions to any national regulations that clearly put the Island at a disadvantage.

All Party Parliamentary Group
Last summer, Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely, became the Chair of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Islands.

The group set out to gather a wide range of information relating to Islands including; cost of ferries; broadband speeds; education standard; demographics; transport subsidies; the cost and impact of fixed links and the cost of being an Island.

Bob said,

“Although the information will be useful for all MPs representing Island communities in the UK, I am particularly focused on the specific challenges facing the Isle of Wight.”

OnTheWight has written to Bob to see whether, as MP, he’ll be supporting Cllr Lilley’s motion.

The motion
Cllr Lilley’s motion reads:

Portsmouth University in its report on Isle of Wight finances has stated that the IOW Council has a £6.5 million disadvantage per year compared to mainland Counties/unitary authorities.

The IW Council has to provide the Island population with services from this yearly disadvantage. The Council also has to work within many English regulations designed for the mainland which does not fit the reality of being an Island surrounded by sea such a planning regulations.

IW Council needs legislation which provides recognition as an Island and ability to have exemptions to any national regulations that clearly put the Isle of Wight Council and population at a disadvantage. This motion is designed to start a dialogue to get the legislative change that will give the Island equality with other counties and local authorities and develop a more sustainable future.

IW Council resolves to request the Leader in partnership with all Group Leaders to establish dialogue with IW MP and UK Government about the development of an Isle of Wight Equality (level playing field) and Island Status Act which clearly clarifies within UK law that Isle of Wight is an Island and as an Island has clear differences in issues compared to other Counties within England.

OnTheWight will be reporting live from the meeting which starts at 6pm on Wednesday 17th January 2018.

Image: crobj under CC BY 2.0

Thursday, 11th January, 2018 9:17am



Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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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10 Comments on "Move to make Isle of Wight’s unique status legally recognised"

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Expect another soundbite from Bob saying he “approves of” and “supports” this.

He will, however, vote on it as his political masters dictate.


Clearly MPs should always vote for they want and ignore any party policy…



They should vote for the good of the people they represent.

Not in order to fawn and bootlick their way up the greasy pole.

I do hope that the political parties stop trying to do point scoring of ‘who’s idea was it first’ because this idea is not new for the island in modern or ancient history. In more recent years it was attempted throughout the 80s and 90s. Let’s all join together and get it done, and stop worrying about who gets credit for it. Without changes to the laws,… Read more »


It might be worth noting in the article that the Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats already produced an English Isle Policy which was going to enshrine the Island status in Law.

This Policy has already been submitted to the Vice Chair of the APPG on Islands, Alistair Carmichael.


I mourn the passing of the DL number plate, education and emergency services being locally (island) controlled and all the other things that made the island unique and kept the island independent. Progress they called it.

So, I would be delighted if we took some steps backwards.


As reported elsewhere, Cap’n Bob has avoided stating support or otherwise. But let’s give the guy a chance – his 30-minute bill next week can’t do any harm and will at least put the topic into Hansard (or will it, being only Westminster Hall?)


According to the SLEP & IWC what makes the island disadvantaged is our isolation from the mainland. If we are to benefit from the same living standards, public services, job and social opportunities as those on the mainland then we need integration rather than legislation.


Let’s do this properly -independence for the isle!


Where’s Laurie Say when you need him?