Campaigners accused of wasting public money in Wightlink ferries fight

The controversial Wightlink W-class ferry

The controversial Wightlink W-class ferry

First published in New Forest Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by

CAMPAIGNERS have been accused of wasting public money after losing another round of their battle against the latest generation of cross-Solent ferries.

The Lymington River Association (LRA) has again been refused permission to appeal against the Government’s decision to allow Wightlink to continue using larger vessels on its Lymington to Yarmouth route.

Wightlink said the dispute had cost the company £3.5m and had also been a burden on the public purse.

LRA members say the W-class vessels are harming environmentally-sensitive parts of the Lymington River – a claim Wightlink rejects.

In 2010 a High Court judge backed the LRA, claiming the introduction of the ferries was an unlawful violation of wildlife protection laws.

But the Government later backed the outcome of a 2011 planning inquiry that gave Wightlink permission to continue operating the vessels as well as creating new habitats to replace any damaged by the ferries.

The LRA has repeatedly been refused consent to challenge the Government’s decision in the courts.

The latest hearing followed a repetition of the earlier application.

John Burrows, Wightlink’s chief operating officer, said: “The LRA’s claims have now been considered and rejected by a planning inspector, the Secretary of State, the High Court (twice) and the Court of Appeal (twice).

“While we recognise the rights of individuals to challenge developments on environmental grounds, we believe that this case has gone too far.

“It seems quite wrong that a small group of individuals should be able to impose such a costly legal burden on the UK taxpayer and on our company.”

But the LRA hit back at criticism of its campaign and vowed to fight on.

A spokesman said: “The public inquiry accepted that the ferries would cause damage to the Lymington River and that has duly taken place.

“The long-term aim of the LRA remains the conservation of the salt marsh.”

A statement on the LRA website says: “Wightlink are causing loss of habitat in the Lymington River and are allowed to do so if they put mud on a section of marsh a mile away.

“This is clearly not what the Habitats Directive provides for, which is no negative impact.”

Comments (10)

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11:30am Thu 24 Jul 14

Mr E says...

Make these (and other) campaigners pay their own costs ..... We might actually get something done in this country then.
Make these (and other) campaigners pay their own costs ..... We might actually get something done in this country then. Mr E
  • Score: 17

11:58am Thu 24 Jul 14

Bagamn says...

The complaint of loss of habitat is a farce. The LRA did and said nothing about the enlargement of the marina and their mooring spaces. It is the usual two-faced yellow welly brigade being obnoxious.
The complaint of loss of habitat is a farce. The LRA did and said nothing about the enlargement of the marina and their mooring spaces. It is the usual two-faced yellow welly brigade being obnoxious. Bagamn
  • Score: 25

1:13pm Thu 24 Jul 14

forest hump says...

The LRA is full of self-centered snobs who's only agenda is to promote an environment for their sailing craft. They ignore the fact that hundreds of acres of marshland has been eaten up for their toys and hate the idea of sharing "their" river with a service which is critical to both the Isle of Wight and others. Shame on the lot of them. They should shoulder the costs and get a life at the same time.
The LRA is full of self-centered snobs who's only agenda is to promote an environment for their sailing craft. They ignore the fact that hundreds of acres of marshland has been eaten up for their toys and hate the idea of sharing "their" river with a service which is critical to both the Isle of Wight and others. Shame on the lot of them. They should shoulder the costs and get a life at the same time. forest hump
  • Score: 15

1:37pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Harry Bong says...

The answer could be for Wightlink to pull out all together from Lymington, then the railway will close. Most of the shops will close as the tourists will dwindle. Then all the campaigners will be happy.
I don't think some people realize how much Wightlink contribute to the local economy
The answer could be for Wightlink to pull out all together from Lymington, then the railway will close. Most of the shops will close as the tourists will dwindle. Then all the campaigners will be happy. I don't think some people realize how much Wightlink contribute to the local economy Harry Bong
  • Score: 11

2:49pm Thu 24 Jul 14

forest hump says...

Harry Bong wrote:
The answer could be for Wightlink to pull out all together from Lymington, then the railway will close. Most of the shops will close as the tourists will dwindle. Then all the campaigners will be happy.
I don't think some people realize how much Wightlink contribute to the local economy
I agree but the folks at the LRA would like nothing more. They do not care a fig about local traders or visitors. Their only concern is the exclusive use of the river for their toys. Selfishness to the extremity.
[quote][p][bold]Harry Bong[/bold] wrote: The answer could be for Wightlink to pull out all together from Lymington, then the railway will close. Most of the shops will close as the tourists will dwindle. Then all the campaigners will be happy. I don't think some people realize how much Wightlink contribute to the local economy[/p][/quote]I agree but the folks at the LRA would like nothing more. They do not care a fig about local traders or visitors. Their only concern is the exclusive use of the river for their toys. Selfishness to the extremity. forest hump
  • Score: 12

4:06pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Linesman says...

Enough is enough.

Why should this small group of people be able to use OUR Money, the tax-payers' money, to run up a legal bill for something that we have not been consulted?

I think that it is an abuse of the system, a waste of our money, and steps should be taken by

a) Wightlink to recover their legal costs and

b) The government to require the LRA to meet some of their own legal costs.

If that means that a 'Yacht or two' have to be sold to meet the cost, so be it. They have had a lot of fun, gambling with Our Money, so now they can pay for the losses.
Enough is enough. Why should this small group of people be able to use OUR Money, the tax-payers' money, to run up a legal bill for something that we have not been consulted? I think that it is an abuse of the system, a waste of our money, and steps should be taken by a) Wightlink to recover their legal costs and b) The government to require the LRA to meet some of their own legal costs. If that means that a 'Yacht or two' have to be sold to meet the cost, so be it. They have had a lot of fun, gambling with Our Money, so now they can pay for the losses. Linesman
  • Score: 12

4:54pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Torchie1 says...

Linesman wrote:
Enough is enough.

Why should this small group of people be able to use OUR Money, the tax-payers' money, to run up a legal bill for something that we have not been consulted?

I think that it is an abuse of the system, a waste of our money, and steps should be taken by

a) Wightlink to recover their legal costs and

b) The government to require the LRA to meet some of their own legal costs.

If that means that a 'Yacht or two' have to be sold to meet the cost, so be it. They have had a lot of fun, gambling with Our Money, so now they can pay for the losses.
The same source of money has just lined Sharon Shoesmith's pocket with nearly £700K after Ed Balls tried to garner public support by wrongly sacking her, and will also fund an appeal against the life sentence given to the savage murderer of Lee Rigby who was filmed carrying out the deed. There are many such cases that wouldn't receive a penny from public sources if common sense prevailed but lots of people will use the system for their personal gain whether you like it or not.
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: Enough is enough. Why should this small group of people be able to use OUR Money, the tax-payers' money, to run up a legal bill for something that we have not been consulted? I think that it is an abuse of the system, a waste of our money, and steps should be taken by a) Wightlink to recover their legal costs and b) The government to require the LRA to meet some of their own legal costs. If that means that a 'Yacht or two' have to be sold to meet the cost, so be it. They have had a lot of fun, gambling with Our Money, so now they can pay for the losses.[/p][/quote]The same source of money has just lined Sharon Shoesmith's pocket with nearly £700K after Ed Balls tried to garner public support by wrongly sacking her, and will also fund an appeal against the life sentence given to the savage murderer of Lee Rigby who was filmed carrying out the deed. There are many such cases that wouldn't receive a penny from public sources if common sense prevailed but lots of people will use the system for their personal gain whether you like it or not. Torchie1
  • Score: 2

7:54pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Linesman says...

Torchie1 wrote:
Linesman wrote:
Enough is enough.

Why should this small group of people be able to use OUR Money, the tax-payers' money, to run up a legal bill for something that we have not been consulted?

I think that it is an abuse of the system, a waste of our money, and steps should be taken by

a) Wightlink to recover their legal costs and

b) The government to require the LRA to meet some of their own legal costs.

If that means that a 'Yacht or two' have to be sold to meet the cost, so be it. They have had a lot of fun, gambling with Our Money, so now they can pay for the losses.
The same source of money has just lined Sharon Shoesmith's pocket with nearly £700K after Ed Balls tried to garner public support by wrongly sacking her, and will also fund an appeal against the life sentence given to the savage murderer of Lee Rigby who was filmed carrying out the deed. There are many such cases that wouldn't receive a penny from public sources if common sense prevailed but lots of people will use the system for their personal gain whether you like it or not.
Are you unable see the difference between the long-running case under discussion, and those that you mention?

The LRA has made appeal after appeal, unwilling to accept he verdict of the court to which their appeal has been made, and these appeals, that cost £thousands, are not paid by this small group, but the tax-payers.

To date, this has cost Whitelink £3.5m which makes me think the LRA's aim is to force Whitelink to either go bankrupt, or decide that it can no longer afford the legal costs - legal costs that they face, by action taken by a small group of people who are 'using the system'.

I appreciate that you wanted to score a political point against Ed Balls, but will respond with examples of how our money has been wasted locally by Ryston Smith & Co.
[quote][p][bold]Torchie1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: Enough is enough. Why should this small group of people be able to use OUR Money, the tax-payers' money, to run up a legal bill for something that we have not been consulted? I think that it is an abuse of the system, a waste of our money, and steps should be taken by a) Wightlink to recover their legal costs and b) The government to require the LRA to meet some of their own legal costs. If that means that a 'Yacht or two' have to be sold to meet the cost, so be it. They have had a lot of fun, gambling with Our Money, so now they can pay for the losses.[/p][/quote]The same source of money has just lined Sharon Shoesmith's pocket with nearly £700K after Ed Balls tried to garner public support by wrongly sacking her, and will also fund an appeal against the life sentence given to the savage murderer of Lee Rigby who was filmed carrying out the deed. There are many such cases that wouldn't receive a penny from public sources if common sense prevailed but lots of people will use the system for their personal gain whether you like it or not.[/p][/quote]Are you unable see the difference between the long-running case under discussion, and those that you mention? The LRA has made appeal after appeal, unwilling to accept he verdict of the court to which their appeal has been made, and these appeals, that cost £thousands, are not paid by this small group, but the tax-payers. To date, this has cost Whitelink £3.5m which makes me think the LRA's aim is to force Whitelink to either go bankrupt, or decide that it can no longer afford the legal costs - legal costs that they face, by action taken by a small group of people who are 'using the system'. I appreciate that you wanted to score a political point against Ed Balls, but will respond with examples of how our money has been wasted locally by Ryston Smith & Co. Linesman
  • Score: 2

8:01pm Thu 24 Jul 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

I had the pleasure of a visit to the Isle of Wight recently, on the ferry, a motor driven yacht came down the river as we departed, guess which vessel kicked the most bow wave?
I had the pleasure of a visit to the Isle of Wight recently, on the ferry, a motor driven yacht came down the river as we departed, guess which vessel kicked the most bow wave? OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 10

12:13am Fri 25 Jul 14

Torchie1 says...

Linesman wrote:
Torchie1 wrote:
Linesman wrote:
Enough is enough.

Why should this small group of people be able to use OUR Money, the tax-payers' money, to run up a legal bill for something that we have not been consulted?

I think that it is an abuse of the system, a waste of our money, and steps should be taken by

a) Wightlink to recover their legal costs and

b) The government to require the LRA to meet some of their own legal costs.

If that means that a 'Yacht or two' have to be sold to meet the cost, so be it. They have had a lot of fun, gambling with Our Money, so now they can pay for the losses.
The same source of money has just lined Sharon Shoesmith's pocket with nearly £700K after Ed Balls tried to garner public support by wrongly sacking her, and will also fund an appeal against the life sentence given to the savage murderer of Lee Rigby who was filmed carrying out the deed. There are many such cases that wouldn't receive a penny from public sources if common sense prevailed but lots of people will use the system for their personal gain whether you like it or not.
Are you unable see the difference between the long-running case under discussion, and those that you mention?

The LRA has made appeal after appeal, unwilling to accept he verdict of the court to which their appeal has been made, and these appeals, that cost £thousands, are not paid by this small group, but the tax-payers.

To date, this has cost Whitelink £3.5m which makes me think the LRA's aim is to force Whitelink to either go bankrupt, or decide that it can no longer afford the legal costs - legal costs that they face, by action taken by a small group of people who are 'using the system'.

I appreciate that you wanted to score a political point against Ed Balls, but will respond with examples of how our money has been wasted locally by Ryston Smith & Co.
The system is there to be used by anyone who wants to take advantage of it, from terrorists to the LRA. I'm sorry that you choose to misinterpret the use of Balls as an example but the case was prominently featured in the media within the last twenty four hours and is a good illustration of the way taxpayers money is frittered away.
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Torchie1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: Enough is enough. Why should this small group of people be able to use OUR Money, the tax-payers' money, to run up a legal bill for something that we have not been consulted? I think that it is an abuse of the system, a waste of our money, and steps should be taken by a) Wightlink to recover their legal costs and b) The government to require the LRA to meet some of their own legal costs. If that means that a 'Yacht or two' have to be sold to meet the cost, so be it. They have had a lot of fun, gambling with Our Money, so now they can pay for the losses.[/p][/quote]The same source of money has just lined Sharon Shoesmith's pocket with nearly £700K after Ed Balls tried to garner public support by wrongly sacking her, and will also fund an appeal against the life sentence given to the savage murderer of Lee Rigby who was filmed carrying out the deed. There are many such cases that wouldn't receive a penny from public sources if common sense prevailed but lots of people will use the system for their personal gain whether you like it or not.[/p][/quote]Are you unable see the difference between the long-running case under discussion, and those that you mention? The LRA has made appeal after appeal, unwilling to accept he verdict of the court to which their appeal has been made, and these appeals, that cost £thousands, are not paid by this small group, but the tax-payers. To date, this has cost Whitelink £3.5m which makes me think the LRA's aim is to force Whitelink to either go bankrupt, or decide that it can no longer afford the legal costs - legal costs that they face, by action taken by a small group of people who are 'using the system'. I appreciate that you wanted to score a political point against Ed Balls, but will respond with examples of how our money has been wasted locally by Ryston Smith & Co.[/p][/quote]The system is there to be used by anyone who wants to take advantage of it, from terrorists to the LRA. I'm sorry that you choose to misinterpret the use of Balls as an example but the case was prominently featured in the media within the last twenty four hours and is a good illustration of the way taxpayers money is frittered away. Torchie1
  • Score: -2

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