AFTER raising £19,000 towards the £120,000 needed for a viability study, the group campaigning for a fixed link from the Isle of Wight to the mainland have pledged to continue past their original deadline.

Carl Feeney, of Pro-Link, originally set a time limit of January 31 to raise the money, but he has decided to keep going.

He explained: "At the beginning of the funding process, I stated a time limit of January 31, at which time if the money had not been raised, I would walk away from the campaign.

"The caveat was that no fabricated discrediting information entered proceedings by those opposing a fixed link. Unfortunately, some individuals have produced seriously misleading information, instigating false Twitter profiles in my name and Pro-Link, designed to discredit.

"There are also those in high office who are producing false statements on radio, in business and public meetings, having been lobbied to do so. This conduct has no justification and is seriously detrimental to the Island."

Pro-Link has spent four years consulting with local authorities and infrastructure companies, to come up with their Solent Freedom Tunnel scheme, which sees a route from Whippingham to Lee-on-the-Solent.

They would like infrastructure firm ARUP to undertake a viability study, for a cost capped at £100,000 plus VAT. Other peripheral costs are estimated at £10,000 but the study will begin once the £120,000 has been raised.

Without any public funding secured, in September 2018 Pro-Link asked Islanders and other interested parties to raise the money needed. So far, £19,000 has been raised.

Mr Feeney said: "As the Island's population inevitably grows, the ferry companies have a limited capacity. We already see the results of this in the summer months with demand-based fare prices going through the roof.

"In the future, this will exacerbate. It will create huge socio-economic problems, along with healthcare implications."

Details of how to contribute to the study can be found at