Six weeks ago OnTheWight asked the Isle of Wight council whether the costs of using MV Seaclear – the barge used to hold the floating bridge in place during certain tides – had been included in the list of Floating Bridge costs that are shown in the Revised Business Case published by the Solent LEP.
This afternoon they wrote back to us. Unfortunately not answering the specific question we’d asked, but letting us know that the cost of using MV Seaclear works out at £192 per hour.
Over £10,000 per month
The cost, IWC say, is met from the floating bridge’s revenue budget.
Local residents say the MV Seaclear has at its busiest been in use approximately 14 days a month, around four hours a day. On that basis the cost would be approximately £10,000 for that month.
Stewart: “Maintaining a good and reliable service”
Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart,
“By using MV Seaclear on a short-term basis, we’ve been able to keep the floating bridge running in all tides, maintaining a good and reliable service.
“The cost of using MV Seaclear is offset by our ability to keep the service running and the income that generates.”
Tender for ‘push boat’ service
The leader goes on to explain that the IWC will be putting out a tender for the use of a ‘push boat’ next year.
“We know we have an issue with the chain depth during the fast flowing ebb tides and we’re exploring all options to find a more efficient and effective long-term solution.
“In the meantime, we’re investigating the future use of a ‘push boat’ and will be issuing a tender for this service in 2019.”
With this news in mind, it’s hard not to see that the IWC believe it will be an ongoing issue.
Finally get an answer
Despite an initial six week wait for the answer to our question, since asking it again this afternoon, happily within half an hour, the answer relating to the Revised Business Case published by the Solent LEP, was supplied.
“They [the costs] were not included in that report. However, the report did highlight a contingency spend, which would have covered this cost.”
Update 15:44 Residents tell us 14 day/month is a busy month.