Top Reasons for a Fixed Link

  1. Fast, reliable and efficient transport to and from the mainland, at all times.
  2. Island school and hospital performance should improve as staff find working on the Island more acceptable, knowing their mainland life is still accessible.
  3. Traffic congestion would diminish or at least remain stable, mainland visitors will be able to arrive and leave at will, with a likely boost in day-visitors as tourists, for business or to visit friends or relatives. There will be a fluidity of movement, with no ferry “bottlenecks”.  Island residents will be more likely to commute to better paid jobs on the mainland freely by car, or bus. The island will be a peninsular; we will not be a through-road where traffic is trying to get from A to B through the Isle of Wight.
  4. Tourism promotion could be used more effectively for the island destination, rather than the transport to get to it. The island should prosper through improved tourism receipts and growing businesses due to reduced travel costs and ease of access.
  5. A fixed link would not be prone to closure, or significant delays due to adverse weather conditions, fog, engine failures, staff sickness or fuel price increases.
  6. A fixed link is the cheaper option in the long-run. Money is better invested now in a project to ensure a prosperous future for the Isle of Wight and not for the benefit of ferry company shareholders. Tax payer support for the privately owned ferry companies for new terminals, etc, saps financial resources which could be better spent on a permanent fixed link solution.
  7. East Cowes and Fishbourne will be able to regenerate their towns without having to deal with the problems of sporadic ferry traffic.
  8. Crime on the Isle of Wight should decrease. It has been established that criminal elements wish to stay on their own “patch” with familiar people, area and location. A more prosperous environment will reduce crime caused through poverty or boredom. ANPR systems on a link will record individual vehicular travel activity including driver recognition through CCTV, dissuading exit/entry of criminal intent.
  9. Young, aspirational people will have better opportunities on the island to tap into new business and tourist investment without feeling “trapped”. At present the average island wage is £18k, the South mainland (4 miles away) it’s £25k. A young family of 4 with one earner pays perhaps £600pm rent, £300 pm bills including Council Tax, £500pm food, £100 vehicle costs = £18k. Where is the money for these people to travel to the mainland? They earn 25% less wages for the equivalent vocation but have more expenses here. They are trapped at the moment. With better prospects for family incomes, the high demographic age of the population would move back closer to the national average.
  10. Key requirements for a successful business are good communication and fast transport links. Without these, to compete effectively will be difficult. At present a commercial vehicle from the island takes a minimum 3 hrs round trip extra journey time, plus the booking and expense of fare over and above mainland competitors, because of ferry travel. During that 3 hours a mainland competitor will have carried out more business, more cheaply. It is impossible to compete without a fixed link. The time saved will be crucial to make Island businesses more competitive and successful.

What benefits or risks can you see from a fixed link?