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Application for Judicial Review of 2011 Planning Enquiry Rejected

Wightlink has today welcomed the decision again to refuse the Lymington River Association a Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s decision not to overturn the outcome of the 2011 Planning Inquiry (the 2011 Inquiry gave consent for Wightlink to carry out berth works, operate the W-Class vessels and undertake habitat creation works).
CEO Russell Kew said “I hope that this now marks the end of a 4 year legal process which has created uncertainty for our staff, customers and Islanders and which has cost Wightlink more than £3.4m in legal costs and fees alone.
Our berth works are now complete, providing safe and efficient loading for our customers; our W-class ships are operating reliably and with reduced environmental impact whilst maintaining the capacity our customers need; and the habitat creation works in Boiler Marsh are going very well under the close supervision of a robust and independent Environmental Management Panel.  I would invite any interested parties to review the report and minutes which we make available on our website.
Wightlink is committed to coexisting with others in its use of the river and I would urge the Lymington River Association to do the same going forward.”

7 August 2013

Berth Works Update

Wightlink are pleased to announce that the berth modification works at Lymington terminal have been completed ahead of schedule and we are now operating off the new linkspan.

The operation is currently being monitored over the course of this week and staff are also familiarising themselves with the new design and layout, so please bear with us and any minor disruption to service that you may experience, we will of course do everything we can to minimise any inconvenience.

The passenger walkway is slightly behind schedule and is expected to be in operation w/c 9 April, further details will follow towards the end of this week.

Updated 29 March

Berth Works

The berth modification works were intended to be undertaken whilst the C Class vessels were in service as these vessels had years of experience loading/unloading off the slipways.  Regrettably due to the planning and environmental issues surrounding the berth works, this was unable to be completed whilst the C Class remained available.


Wightlink announces the process and result of its Appropriate Assessment (AA) regarding its “Project” and its subsequent resolution to implement Shore and Habitat Recharge Works.


Planning Inspector's Decision and Next Steps

Wightlink is delighted that the Inspector has granted planning permission for the Lymington berth improvement and habitat works we wish to undertake in connection with the operation of the W Class ferries.


Lymington to Yarmouth update

In order to maintain a ferry service between Lymington and Yarmouth and undertake widely publicised necessary berth works and habitat works, Wightlink must secure consent for the marine licences and planning permissions applied for. A section 106 agreement which places obligations on Wightlink for the delivery of the habitat works and the operation of the ferries is to be entered into with the New Forest National Park Authority and New Forest District Council.  The agreement has to be approved by Natural England and is required by UK and EU habitat legislation.


The Secretary of State has declined requests from New Forest District Council (NFDC) and New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) that he should determine Wightlink’s applications for berth and habitat works.

Wightlink’s proposed berthworks in Lymington together with recharge and habitat creation works proposed at Boiler Marsh and the operation of the W Class ferries form a single project which Wightlink has proposed to undertake. It is the effects of this project on the European Sites which must be subject to appropriate assessment under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive and Regulation 61 of the Habitats Regulations.


Natural England’s advice to the Competent Authorities (28.06.11) enables New Forest District Council (NFDC) and New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) to determine promptly Wightlink’s applications for berth and habitat works.

Wightlink’s proposed berthworks in Lymington together with recharge and habitat creation works proposed at Boiler Marsh and the operation of the “W” Class ferries form a single project which Wightlink has proposed to undertake. It is the effects of this project as a whole on the European Sites as a whole which must be subject to assessment under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive and Regulation 61 of the Habitats Regulations and in respect of which Natural England’s (NE’s) final advice has been expected.


Wightlink’s applications being considered by NFNPA and NFDC planning committees on 21st & 22nd June 2011

Wightlink made the decision in April this year to lodge appeals against the non determination of two planning applications it submitted on 5th November 2010 for habitat recharge works at Boiler Marsh (New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA)) and berthworks in Lymington (New Forest District Council (NFDC)). At the same time it submitted duplicate applications to the planning authorities for determination. The Planning Inspectorate has registered Wightlink’s appeals and a public inquiry is listed for early October 2011. Wightlink wishes to undertake the works applied for as soon as possible. For reasons of wildlife protection, the works can only be undertaken in February and March.


Wightlink lodges planning appeal and submits new planning applications regarding its proposed habitat and berth works

The habitat recharge and berth works Wightlink has proposed as part of its project in respect of the ferry service between Lymington and Yarmouth had to be completed during February and March 2011.  This is to avoid harm to both migrating fish and nesting birds and to enable use of a proportion of the sediment dredged from Lymington’s marinas at that time of year.  Delays in obtaining the necessary consents mean that this work could not be completed during 2011.

Consequently, it is Wightlink’s intention to now complete the works in spring 2012 to provide mitigation as soon as possible, against the worst-case risk of ferry-derived adverse effects predicted by Natural England’s (NE’s) advisors.  


Wightlink Responds to LRA

This week, Wightlink has replied to the representations made by the Lymington River Association (LRA) on 17th January 2011 to the planning applications for the berth and habitat works that Wightlink has applied for consent to undertake.  We want to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about either our planning applications or the suitability of our new Lymington-based ferries.


Lymington/Yarmouth update by Russell Kew, Chief Executive

As Chief Executive of Wightlink, I feel strongly that that my work has a clearly defined public service value. Having spent over 30 years in the Logistics sector, the last 10 years of which included Ferries and providing life line services to Island communities, I was really pleased to become Chief Executive of Wightlink in late 2009. 

We operate in a busy stretch of water always in sight of land and except in very poor visibility, there’s always something interesting or attractive or both to look at.  Sailing to France and the Channel Islands is fine but short sea links like our Solent ones connect UK communities in important ways as well as, in our case, delivering holiday makers and vital freight to what I think is England’s loveliest Island. 

On the Lymington/Yarmouth route, travellers can also enjoy the magic of the New Forest as part of their holiday. Despite the extended hot summer spell in 2010 and plenty of happy holiday makers using us to get to the Isle of Wight, Wightlink has had to weather some stormy business waters over the past 12 months particularly in Lymington. 


Wight Class ferries are safe confirms independent report  

The latest independent “Review of Wight Class Ferry Operations and Marine Safety” by BMT Isis is available for download from the Lymington Harbour website at

The research for it was undertaken at various dates including during the 2010 high season for both recreational sailing and Lymington to Yarmouth ferry passages. Wightlink is pleased to note that the review says that the “overall impression was of a river fraternity that has settled down with both yachtsmen and ferries successfully coexisting and using the river sensibly and safely.” 


Wightlink applies for planning and licensing consents

Wightlink today (5th November) announced that it is applying for the planning permissions and licences it needs to improve its Lymington berth facilities for the 1.3 million passengers each year who use the route served by its “W” class ferries between Lymington and Yarmouth.  Wightlink wants to ease the issue of foot passengers getting on and off the ferry caused by having to use a temporary linkspan at Lymington and to protect customers from the weather and improve the ferries’ timekeeping. 

The Company is also applying for the planning permission and licences it needs to carry out habitat creation and recharge works to the east of the Lymington ferry route.  Wightlink proposes using around 2,000 cubic metres of the 30,000 cubic metres of sediment dredged annually from the harbour to improve and maintain the leisure boat industry’s provisions.  The sediment will be placed on an agreed site at Boiler Marsh and is intended to restore habitat in excess of that which might be eroded by the action of the ferries over the next thirty years according to Natural England’s (NE’s) advisors. The works will also protect existing saltmarsh behind the recharge area. It is anticipated that the sediment will need to be recharged to the area once a year for at least three years.

For more information on the Wight Class vessels and further information on the planning and licensing consents - click here

New Ships News

Keep up to date with developments regarding the new Lymington - Yarmouth ferries on the New Ships page.

Read more

Wight Class Ships on Lymington - Yarmouth route


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