Pro-link group to present their argument to Isle of Wight council

The presentation to the Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Regeneration, Planning, Housing and the Environment is expected to take place in the autumn.

Light at the end of the tunnel

This in from the council. Ed

The Isle of Wight Council’s new administration is keen to engage with the Solent Tunnel fixed link debate.

Presently, a date is being sought for the Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Regeneration, Planning, Housing and the Environment and other interested councillors, to receive an informal presentation regarding the proposals, to ensure a better understanding of the options. This is expected to take place in the early autumn.

Cllr Ian Ward, Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said:

“The ‘pro-link’ group want a ‘letter of support’ from the council to back their application for funding to enable a feasibility study for their proposals. This study would form the next stage in progressing any potential plans for a fixed link in the future and to enable the discussions to progress, subject to the study outcomes.

“I am keen to understand more about the proposals before making a decision so we have invited the ‘pro-link’ group to present their case, and welcome the opportunity to learn more.”

Once all the evidence is received and considered the committee will make a recommendation to the council’s Cabinet for a decision on the council’s position regarding a letter of support.

Image: Red Hand Records under CC BY 2.0

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Wednesday, 12th July, 2017 1:43pm



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

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


  1. Well I very much hope that this idea gets dropped fairly quickly. The island’s unique characteristics are precisely because it IS an island. In my opinion it would suffer and lose one of its main ‘selling points’ to both tourists and a lot of people who live here.

    One of the main points usually raised when the fixed link gets airtime is the moaning about ferry costs etc. It’s as if a lot of pro-fixed link folk seem to think that a bridge/tunnel would mean easy free-crossing across the fixed link. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Toll that would certainly be applied would actually cost probably close to the ferry costs. Then the supporters of the fixed link, if successful, might find that it’s still costly to get on and off the island… and they would have lost precisely that: The Island!

    I would think that there are far more worthy ways to spend the money rather than risk losing the Isle of Wight’s wonderful, unique and appreciated qualities (even if the link was privately funded). Accept that if you choose to live on an island (as I do) then it might be better that it stays an island forever.

    • Our unique characteristics such as deprivation, unemployment and homelessness.

      • Okay, sorry about that. I had forgotten that on the mainland (where people can freely travel between counties) deprivation, unemployment and homelessness isn’t so much of a problem…

        Although, on second thoughts, my observations suggest to me that deprivation, unemployment and homelessness on the mainland seems worse than on the Isle of Wight?

        • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

          13.Jul.2017 2:07pm

          In that you are incorrect.

          Unemployment on the IW is much higher than that in neighbouring Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex (JSA claimants 1.7% as opposed to 1.2%)

          Average full time pay in Portsmouth £532 pw

          Average full time pay in Southampton £550 pw

          Average full time pay in Gosport £553 pw

          Average full time pay in Havant £522 pw

          Average full time pay on IW £441 pw

          Number of people earning less than the living wage:

          Hampshire: 18%
          Isle of Wight: 26.5%

          • This is a good example of when statistics do not tell the whole truth, or at least can be misleading. The Isle of Wight has a very pronounced majority of older persons. Higher proportionally than you might find in some of the areas you mention. Taking into account the very small population (approx 140,000 on IoW) compared with some of the mentioned areas, and again the statistics need some further investigation as the island (apart from its wonderful unique characteristics) is also somewhat unique when discussing these type of matters.

          • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

            14.Jul.2017 9:14am

            The stats are for working age people.

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      12.Jul.2017 5:43pm

      It’s going to happen. There are now far more people in favour than against the idea of a fixed link.

      Get used to it.

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      12.Jul.2017 6:25pm

      In addition, the biggest problem with the ferries is their frequency and reliability.

      A fixed £30 or £40 each way would see me using the fixed link in preference to the ferry as:

      No having to travel at fixed times and turn up 30 before departure.

      No wondering what it’s going to cost me. No wondering if it’s going to be £40 return or £180 return.

      No having to sit on the floor for an hour (or pay an extra £15 per person for seats)

      No worries about missing a ferry and having to wait two hours for the next one.

      No having to leave shows on the mainland early so I don’t miss the last ferry.

      • I do take your point that the ferries can only be used as per their timetable and that is not always convenient.

        However, when talking to some people about the fixed link option it does seem that not many have thought through the detail and fully appreciated that a substantial toll charge (which will certainly have to be levied) could quite easily mean that they might be financially no better off.

        …and I still feel that the island’s unique qualities are very much worth holding on to. It’s not about being “anti-progress” as someone comments below. I see look and what “progress” has delivered to this world and frankly I question if much of it is “good progress”. There are plenty of things going on today in the name of progress, quite often we find that years later we regret the “progressive” decisions.

        As I said in my opening comment. Once a fixed link is in place there’s no going back. I agree the island is still geographically an island, but in so many ways, to a lot of people, it won’t be.

    • I bet “ontap” is retired and does not have to seek work in low paid jobs. No consideration for young people trying to make a living. If we get a fixed link the IOW will be forced to pay a similar rate to the mainland or lose our future generation as they commute (and eventually leave).

    • Its odd that any organisation that proposes a fixed link ignores the issues such as crime rates, immigration and anything that makes the IOW attractive to tourists. This group are totally profit orientated (knowing some of the characters) and this is simply an extension of their personal gains ambition. In fairness they could always go live on the North Island and have all they wish for !!

  2. The opening of the channel tunnel didn’t make the UK any less of an island, it just made it more convenient to reach the continent. And that’s the overriding factor here, convenience.

    There is obviously going to be a price to travel this link, but a price I would be willing to pay for a chance to reach the mainland as and when I want to. The island needs to grasp this lifeline before it sinks even further into the self-imposed isolation it seems so keen on.

    We’re so proud of our Victorian heritage, but let’s try looking forward instead of back for a change.

    • Indeed the Tunnel allowed us to access the European mainland; but do not forget the vast numbers that make the reverse trip either legally or more importantly illegally. If you only look at the sunny side you will see no shadow until its too cold to make changes !!

  3. What a complete waste of money, money could be better spent on giving us an actual hospital that works well. The reason I moved here because it was unlike every town on the mainland clogged full of traffic. As for jobs it took me 2 weeks of being here to get one.As for looking forward why don’t we have a survey into getting some fracking done on the island ” sarcasm” I have never had a problem getting a ferry at anytime I wanted using the multilink ticket at brilliant prices. Maybe I have been lucky. Imagine what the tunnel road will be like if Island rds get hold of it. Has anyone actually been asked if residents want a fixed link before?

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      13.Jul.2017 6:45am

      You can always move back to the mainland if you don’t like us natives making our lives easier by bringing this place into the 21st century.

      • I may just move back along with a few more, and people who have holiday homes. yes us people that come here to work and support local businesses then where will the Island be? Back where it started. Either way when/if it comes to a vote I will take a considered approach to a vote and not just say no.

        • Well, Bocca, I have been refused bookings in the past because the ferries are full. Yes the multilink ticket system does seem to carry some influence.
          As for Island roads, they inherited a dilapidated road network, maintained (BADLY) by Island companies.
          Please bear this in mind when you post comments.

    • Opinion is changing and it seems to be more people that have lived here for several generations are in favour. Perhaps because they can see their offspring leaving because there are no opportunities. The people that are moving here are the most anti.

      • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

        13.Jul.2017 11:09am

        Yes, this, absolutely.

        They, of course, have the right to be anti link if that is their view, but when they make comments along the lines of “No FL, If you don’t like it MOVE” (usually capitalised just like that) I do get rather annoyed.

        My parents live here. My grandparents and great grandparents are buried here, I work here, my wife works here, my kids go to school here, my extended family live and work here.

        So for someone to say I should MOVE just because I favour a future for this place that they do not ( because they have no real ties here) makes me very angry indeed.

      • Or perhaps because they haven’t lived anywhere else?

    • Indeed, one of the possible improvements for us on the IOW may be a bridge over the Medina to better the flow of traffic between Ryde and Cowes which is a traffic issue. The slip road in Newport is a step forward but a fixed link somewhere between Cowes and Newport to avoid Coppins Bridge would be a localised advantage.

  4. Its a good job that our Victorian predecessors were not anti progress, otherwise we would have no schools, hospitals, railways, electricity, gas, mains water & sewage etc.

    Those that have recently moved here will be unaware how much the island has changed since the mid-20th century and the increasing prosperity gap between ourselves and the mainland.

  5. Perhaps we could apply for an EU grant to pay for it. As likely as if it will ever happen.

    • No need for EU funding, our own Government has set aside £ 483Bn for infrastructure projects such as this, we just need to ask for our fair share.

      Why should it always be more prosperous areas on the mainland that benefit from the taxes that us islanders pay?

  6. I do hope that the anti-fixed-link group will be accorded the same oppotunity to present their case in the interests of equality.

    Just beccause a small minority are vocal with alternative truths doesn’t mean they should have preference over the silent majoity who prefer the status quo (or indeed any ageing rock band)

    Given the IWC council policy of backing anything that is a potential dead duck, I won’t be holding my breath. It’s a bit like Anthony Wedgewood Benn who would support anything that was unviable.

  7. Colin – sorry I am going to pick you up there on the ‘small minority’ – Suruk clearly states above that there are far more people in favour then against..

  8. All recent polls etc. point to islanders being substantially in favour of a fixed link.

    There are always a few vociferous NIMBYS who want “nothing to change”, despite the increasing centralising of things such as healthcare away from the island(see HIOW STP Delivery Plan 2016.)

    Even back in the 1970s in the days of the Vectis Nationalists it became apparent that the island could not sustain itself independently from the mainland. Doing nothing is just not an option.

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      13.Jul.2017 11:16am

      Yep, this too.

      It doesn’t matter how many time the Collins of this world try to dismiss pro-linkers off as a “small minority”, it won’t make it true.

      They need to take on board the fact that it is *they* who are the minority, and no amount of self-righteous indignation will change that fact.

      • You two seem very certain of your polls. What polls? Social media polls? Website polls? If those are any gauge we’d have a Labour election landslide and a Green MP on the Island.

        I don’t know how you can make such sweeping statements about who is in the minority. If there was a Island referendum on the subject I’d have no idea how it would turn out.

        I personally am in the “unsure” category. Whilst I’d personally enjoy the use of a fixed link, I don’t see it as the golden goose when you consider the decline of mainland seaside tourist locations.

        • The first polls were conducted by AFLAG in the 1990s, this indicated that 83% of islanders were against a fixed link, more recently there have been things like parliamentary petitions, County Press and social media polls, all indicating that public opinion is now heavily in favour of a fixed link.

          As you rightly say a referendum would be better but first we need the feasibility study to fairly weigh up the pros & cons, in any case it was Jonathan Bacon’s anti administration that ruled out a referendum, I wonder why?

        • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

          13.Jul.2017 1:30pm

          It’s not really a case of it being a goose that lays any kind of golden egg as far as our tourism industry is concerned.

          My support for it is purely as someone who lives and works here but has to make trips to the mainland for various reasons.

          It’s not a question of price, either. The problem is that, over the last 15 or so years, both Wightlink and Red Funnel have been cutting back on the number of sailings and the time of the last sailing, making getting to / from the mainland a tedious and frustrating business.

          Take this scenario:

          Without FL:

          Leave a meeting in Oxford at 18:00: Arrive at Southampton at 19:25. 19:15 ferry has just left. Next one is 21:00. Arrive at E Cowes at 22:00 and finally get unloaded at 22:07. Arrive home at 22:25.

          With FL:
          Leave a meeting in Oxford at 18:00:
          Arrive at FL toll at around 19:30.
          15 minutes to drive through tunnel. Arrive home at about 20:05.

          Almost two and a half hours earlier.

          • But you haven’t allowed for the broken down lorry in the middle of the tunnel.

          • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

            13.Jul.2017 2:39pm

            Rolls eyes:

            Is that the best you can come up with?

            A broken down lorry?

            Something that is no more likely to happen in a tunnel than on the boarding ramp of a ferry.

          • Didn’t that happen at Portsmouth not long ago?

          • But I don’t want to come from Oxford.
            I am coming from Exeter and going to Totland. How will that be quicker than the Yarmouth ferry and how many extra miles will I have to travel?

          • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

            13.Jul.2017 4:10pm

            Then, Colin, you will still have the option of the Yarmouth ferry if you want to use it.

          • You have alko not allowed for the caravan on its roof on the A34, but I understand what you mean. depending on where a tunnel were to go it might add on 30/40 minutes to my journey so saving no time

      • Just the one “l” thank you. The other one is a dictionary.

  9. Suppose there was a tunnel for road traffic. This may be in excess of 5 miles long. How are those in the middle going to breathe with all the exhaust fumes?

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      13.Jul.2017 2:43pm


      Search for the Lærdal Tunnel (it’s 15 miles long, by the way)

      Broken down lorries and “how are people going to breath”?


      • Ok I will have a look for it later when I’m going to Ryde. Is it anywhere near there?

        Yes, I asked the question how are people going to breath(e). What’s the answer?

        • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

          13.Jul.2017 4:18pm

          Read about the Lærdal Tunnel (it’s in Norway, since you ask).

          Most articles on it describe it’s ventilation system which, due to its length is rather sophisticated.

          The Isle of Wight tunnel is more likely to use the same system as the 4 mile Hindhead tunnel, which uses fans mounted above the traffic.

          Most of the time, though, they won’t need to be used as the movement of traffic will push air through the tunnel.

        • Oh, Colin. Do you believe that the breathing problems have not been overcome in all other tunnels around Britain and the rest of the world.
          If you are still worried about such problems, stick to the ferries.

          • Instead of trying to belittle a questioner, why don’t you answer the question? What is the vetilation system to be used? When the traffic is backed up in the tunnel due to roadworks somewhere near the tunnel exits either end, how will this affect the ventilation? How often is traffic at a standstill on the mainland? How often is there a queue down the racecourse backed up into Newport? Would there be traffic lights to restrict the numbers in the tunnel at one time? Where will vehicles be stacked up?

            It’s not liable to be an up and downer like the Tyne tunnel which is barely half a mile long. That has blowers along the route and it stinks in there. It’s no use blathering on about a tunnel if you can’t explain the basics. It’s not as if you can have vent shafts along the way because it’s under water. A pretty picture knocked up in a lunchbreak showing an exit means nothing. What about some details?

            Right, I’m off, those burgers aren’t goig to flip themselves.

          • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

            14.Jul.2017 2:18pm


            are you being deliberately obtuse?

            Answers *have* been given to the question you asked about ventilation.

            Read them.

            You can even find videos online of the 4 mile Hindhead tunnel’s ventilation system being tested.

            As far as traffic is concerned?

            Traffic through the fixed link will be constant, as opposed to up to 140 cars being chucked off a ferry in one go at Fishbourne (the new ferry will carry 178 cars.

            Red funnel can spew out up to 220 cars at one go into East Cowes.

            What happens if the traffic lights at Firsbourne fail?

            What happens if there is a major accident on Whippingham Road as the ferry is disgorging those 200-odd cars?

            The “basics” are available for anyone to see if they can be bothered to look. Stop looking for problems that either don’t exist (ventilation) or would be no different that that experienced by the ferry service.

          • You call that answers? oh dear.

            Never mind, when you don’t know just resort to burying your head in the sand.

            Perhaps if more questions had been asked then the floating bridge wouldn’t be such a disaster.

            See also PFI Island Roads.

            And PTEC at St. Catherines.

            Never mind it will all be alright. Not.

          • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

            14.Jul.2017 6:59pm

            You are quite obviously trolling now, Colin. Answers were given as well as information for you to follow up.

            Best you get back under your bridge before the goats arrive.

    • Steve Goodman

      14.Jul.2017 1:42am

      Another argument is worth presenting.

      Starting with Colin’s concern, linked to the price we pay to breathe air poisoned by volumes and types of toxins from our transport and other poor choices we should not have allowed to become routine, I’m reminded that councillors and everyone else interested in Island ‘Regeneration, Planning, Housing and the Environment’, ‘keen to engage with the fixed link debate’, and wanting ‘to ensure a better understanding of the options’ has easy access to plenty of pertinent information.

      For example, we know that Islanders have already become dependent on the fixed links providing water, gas, and electricity, and on the boats bringing in food, fuel, goods, paying visitors, and some people who do some jobs which some residents can’t or won’t do. We also know that it’s not too hard to look closer at the present economic and environmental costs and benefits of living like that, and how we could improve our common health and wealth by being a bit less stupid, because it is impossible that continuation of the ‘business as usual’ which has got us into our present perilous mess will do anything other than make things worse.

      So, how about taking back control, and investing time, effort, and some money in meaningful reduction (and eventual elimination where possible) of the dangerous dependence on current costly imports via the existing fixed and floating links first, irrespective of any other in/action by politicians and/or greedy private profit vampires impacting on our situation?

      As it’s now very hard, if not impossible, to argue that greed is somehow good (for people and planet long term), and it’s easy to argue that we can’t get ‘green’ enough soon enough – in fact it’s imperative, assuming it’s not too late already – the urgent need is to create two much more sustainable ‘ecoislands’, ahead of anything new to link them. Fortunately, there is a lot of free advice about what works, and pays, even in places less geographically blessed than the IOW.

      Goodnight, and good luck.

      • Steve Goodman

        14.Jul.2017 9:07am

        While we are waiting for most of the people in power to use our money more responsibly and to recognise that subjects like the FL are too ‘Titanic deck chair rearranging’ to matter much when the suicidal bigger picture is being ignored, we have again been reminded that we can – we must- do more to save our limited money and resources.

        As reported within the last few days, a new scientific study confirms that there are too many people, consuming, polluting, damaging, and destroying too much of what we depend on, including our climate, and that the greatest impact helpful individuals can have is to have fewer children. The next best actions are ditching/seriously reducing car use, flights, and non-vegetarian diets. These actions cut emissions many times more than the now common ‘green’ measures (despite recycling, low energy lighting, drying washing on a line, etc. UK CO2 emissions are 7 tonnes per person, lower than America and Australia at 16 tonnes pp, but way above the 2 or less said to be urgently needed to avoid certain disastrous global warming.)

        • Couldn’t agree more Steve. All these journeys are damaging the planet. Time for these people travelling regardless of the cost to the planet need to think again. I think we should all be given carbon miles allowance. Once you have used it, that’s it. Tough. There could be a trading system whereby people could trade their allowance. I would be able to sell mine as I use my bike most of the time.

  10. Suruk the Slightly Miffed

    14.Jul.2017 6:35am

    Cancellations on Wightlink’s Yarmouth to Lymington service again this morning.

  11. Suruk the Slightly Miffed

    14.Jul.2017 7:44pm

    Just in on the IWCP website:

    **”CREW shortages have forced Wightlink to cancel some of its Portsmouth to Fishbourne sailings.
    The ferry firm will be running a revised timetable from tomorrow (Saturday) until Monday. “**

    While Wightlink (in particular) continue to demonstrate that they couldn’t organise a party in a brewery the calls for a fixed link will only grow.

  12. Suruk the Slightly Miffed

    17.Jul.2017 12:42pm

    Monday 17th August 2017:

    Red Funnel running an hour late due to “technical issues” (so that’s two and a half hours to get from Southampton to Cowes today (turn up at the port 1/2 hour before scheduled departure as required, only to find there is an hour delay. An hour sat in your car followed by another hour on the ferry, plus however long it takes to unload your car.

    Cancellations on the Wightlink FastCat service this morning too.

    • Rockhopper

      17.Jul.2017 3:28pm

      They know a month early – that´s impressive!! Plenty of notice then, and time to make alternative plans….. ;)

    • Tuesday 18th July. 1600 hours.

      Hindhead tunnel closed both ways due to a vehicle fire.

      • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

        18.Jul.2017 6:55pm

        And your point is?

        It was cleared up so quickly that there is very little mention of it on local news sites.

        Unlike the gridlock caused by yet another “technical issue” on the ferries.

        *My* point is that those people squealing “what happens if there is an accident in the tunnel” appear to be completely blind to the fact that massive delays can, and do occur, with staggering regularity, on the existing ferry services.

  13. Just stating a fact.

    Strange concept to you?

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