Chairman’s letter to Lymington Times 9th August 2008

Dear Sir,

Thank you for giving publicity to the efforts of the Lymington Society to ensure that all aspects of the introduction of the larger ferries by Wightlink into the Lymington Yarmouth service fully considered particularly by statutory bodies whose duty it is to report on these matters.

The Society is concerned to ensure that the matter is fairly considered and seen to be fairly considered. With this in mind it is unfortunate that when Wightlink received a preliminary report leading to a statutory appropriate assessment in connection with their planning application, and they provided quotes in your paper which gave the impression that this report gave the go-ahead for the new ferries without any further consideration by the statutory bodies concerned.

That statement was retracted in a subsequent edition of the paper but by then the seeds of doubt had been placed in the mind of the public that the decision has effectively been made.

It is unfortunate also that no discussion was allowed by the District Councillors about the question of an Environmental Impact Assessment in respect of the ferries because of the legal advice received by the Council that such an environmental impact assessment was not required. The Society are asking the Council to provide a copy of the advice given that it has led to a decision being made and a decision which has pre-empted further discussion of the matter in the Council.

Lastly it is unfortunate to read in your recent edition of the paper that the Harbour Commissioners are publicly considering their response to “rumours” that some people were planning to take action once Wightlink’s new larger W. class vessels are launched later this year. The fact that such a rumour is reported in a public meeting of the Commissioners so that it is his liable to be reported in your paper can only exacerbate any tensions which may arise as a result of the sea trials of these ferries when members of the society have heard no rumours to this effect.

The society hopes that the consultation processes can continue without inaccurate reporting of position by either side, a fair review of the legal position in relation to the environmental impact assessment and restraint by those in public positions in raising issues in relating to “rumours”.

Yours faithfully

Clive Sutton

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