CLA Director for the Isle of Wight, Belinda Walters, has commended Andrew Turner MP for highlighting the need for a more sustainable and affordable transport service between the island and the mainland.
Responding to the Westminster debate led by Mr Turner earlier this week, the CLA – which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses – supports his call for change.
Belinda Walters said:
“We have a wide range of fantastic rural businesses on the Isle of Wight, many have been creative in diversifying in order to survive and grow. Secure, frequent and affordable ferry links are critical for these businesses.
“For example, farmers and producers of Isle of Wight food and drink need a reliable and affordable way to access the materials and equipment they need and to export their livestock and produce to the mainland. They also need purchasers to be able to come onto the island easily and cost-effectively.
“Similarly, the island’s rural tourism industry would be devastated without visitors and holidaymakers coming to the island. The ferries can already be expensive and limiting and the prospect of future price increases or a further reduced service is very concerning. This would have an enormously negative impact on the island’s business communities, both urban and rural. The island already struggles with significantly lower average incomes than, for example, Hampshire and therefore the cost of ferries amplifies the greater difficulties already facing islanders and island businesses.”
“The CLA agrees with Andrew Turner MP’s message that a secure, accessible and affordable service is critical for islanders and their families and friends.
“We urge the ferry companies to work with Mr Turner, local authorities, Solent LEP and local businesses both urban and rural to find a positive way forward for the island and its economy.”