I CAN’T let the comments made by Sam Turner (CP online, 30-09-21) go unchallenged.

Mr Turner accuses me of being ‘too simplistic’ and ignoring the ‘negative impact’ of a fixed link on Isle of Wight life. 

In particular he says that second home-owners would flood here unrestricted and that more mainlanders would move here and commute. 

Well I am sorry but such happenings are controlled not by the transport infrastructure, but by the availability of housing. 

If we want to stop people moving to the Isle of Wight then we must stop building any more houses! 

I have been unable to find the statistics but I would guess that a large proportion of the increase in population over the past 20 years (approximately 10,000) has been due to mainlanders moving to the Isle of Wight (including me). And that has happened without a fixed link. 

The answer is to restrict future housebuilding to affordable properties that will not appeal to second home-owners or commuters.

Secondly, the world has changed dramatically in the last 20 years and we now have to be much more concerned about environmental issues. 

The impact of 35 Red Funnel, 150 Wightlink and 42 Hovercraft crossings a day is not sustainable in the long term. 

As recent events have shown, ferries are also subject to regular breakdowns, staffing shortages, weather issues and profiteering at the expense of Islanders. 

I looked up a one-way crossing from Fishbourne to Portsmouth just now and it’s £86. Quite absurd!

Another ‘impact’ mentioned was that there would be a serious increase in crime that would overtake the Isle of Wight because ‘roll-on roll off uncontrolled traffic would negatively impact the Island’. 

Certainly if you build an uncontrolled fixed link this might well happen. 

But I would suggest that with the massively increased use of CCTV and numberplate recognition equipment in this modern era this would not happen. 

Also, by insisting that fixed link tickets could only be purchased with appropriate ID (passport, driving license etc.) then the integrity of those visiting us could be very tightly managed. 

It might be necessary to instal turnstiles at the mainland entrance which would only allow access to fully paid ticket holders, but again, numberplate recognition would ensure minimum delays.

Finally, all the other negative impacts mentioned by Sam Turner (such as our inadequate road infrastructure) can be controlled by the pricing of the fixed link. 

As with the Channel Tunnel, ferries will still operate and the flow of visitors can be regulated by keeping the tariff the same, or even a little bit more expensive than the ferries. Hopefully Isle of Wight residents would be given preferential rates.

In conclusion, Sam Turner’s arguments might have been very valid 20 years ago but times have changed and the Island needs to keep up.

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