Fixed Link

I am not in favour of a fixed link and would find it difficult to imagine circumstances in which I would be. However, I do not object to a study being undertaken, not least as I suspect it will show that a fixed link is not financially or environmentally viable without the high cost.

I oppose the fixed link on the following grounds.

First, it will cost vast sums of money. There is no appetite in Central Government to fund it and the Island cannot afford it. I’d be amazed if the private sector would pay.

Second, our 19th-century roads infrastructure is not designed to cope with the inevitable increase in traffic.

Third, the development pressure on green field sites in the east and north of the Island will be overwhelming, and the resulting development will dramatically change the Island, almost certainly for the worse. Any central Government support for the project will almost certainly come at the demand for thousands of more houses as the Island will no longer be an Island.

Fourth, any fixed link would result in the loss of services on the Island and a corresponding centralization of those services on the mainland.

However, I believe that policy should be evidence-based, so it would be wrong of me to rule out a feasibility study on principle. Any study should look not only at the narrow economics but also the wider impact that it would have on Island life. I believe such a report would rule out a fixed link for next decade or two. And if that isn’t the case, then we can look at the options.

In the meantime, I need to focus on work that will lead to tangible results, so I I do not intend to spend time and effort campaigning for such a study, but if others wish to do so, or if the Council wishes to support it, I am not going to oppose it.

I am happy to support a feasibility study. I do not support a fixed link.