Campaigners lose latest round in ferries fight

Daily Echo: Campaigners lose latest round in ferries fight Campaigners lose latest round in ferries fight

CAMPAIGNERS have lost the latest round of their battle to halt Wightlink’s new cross- Solent ferries.

The Lymington River Association (LRA) has again failed to secure a judicial review into the Government’s decision to approve the outcome of a 2011 planning inquiry that gave Wightlink consent to continue using the W-class vessels.

Last year the High Court ruled in Wightlink’s favour, saying the LRA failed to mount its challenge within the six weeks allowed.

Campaigners vowed to mount another attempt to obtain a judicial review. But the Court of Appeal has refused to give the LRA permission to challenge the High Court’s decision.

The new ferries have been opposed by the LRA and other objectors on environmental grounds. Critics say they are damaging the environmentally sensitive Lymington River – a claim Wightlink rejects.

A company spokesman said: “The LRA’s claims have now been considered and rejected by the Planning Inspector, the Secretary of State, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.”

LRA spokesman Stephen Akester was unavailable for comment.

But the association’s website says: “The LRA believes that a smaller, faster, cheaper ferry is needed. A smaller ferry will be less environmentally damaging.”

But the decision is not the end of the line for LRA’s challenge, with the group now applying for an oral appeal hearing to plead their case.

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