Wightlink is calling on Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner to highlight the potential dangers to their company and Island tourism of including the entire north shore of the Island in new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ), which is set to be announced later this year.
The ferry company has asked the MP to raise the matter in his Parliamentary debate on cross-Solent ferries on Monday (13th October). If a number of MCZs are created across the whole northern coastline, Wightlink believes it would restrict future developments in their ports of Ryde, Fishbourne and Yarmouth. They say the restriction on development could hit tourism which is an important driver of the Island’s economy.
Chief Operating Officer John Burrows has today said:
“Protecting the marine environment from damage is very important to Wightlink. We are committed to preserving our beautiful coastline and have already spent £500,000 on a salt marsh mitigation programme in the Lymington River, bBut legislation to protect the environment must take into account the need to protect the Island’s economy.
“We believe leaving ports and navigation channels outside the MCZ would support Wightlink and the other cross-Solent ferry operators in developing their services, improving port facilities and investing in their fleets.”
David Thornton, CEO of Visit IoW, supports Wightlink’s stand on the issue. He says:
“We need to ensure that steps to preserve the natural environment go hand in hand with the need to ensure the Island’s economic and leisure well-being is also protected. The Island has a wonderful environmental appeal and we must be able to bring visitors here to see it.”
Andrew Turner has already spoken up on the issue. He has said:
“Any negative impacts resulting from the designation of MCZs around the Island could be far reaching and potentially more damaging than they would be for coastal economies on the mainland.”