Posted on 17 Oct 2008
The position in the first week of October is as follows:-
Trials and Assessments
One ferry, Wight Light, has arrived in the River and is carrying out trials. A second, Wight Sky, has arrived in the Solent but not in the Lymington River.
The Marine and Fisheries Agency continue to conduct their Appropriate Assessment in order to determine, amongst other matters, whether to grant consent for alterations to the Lymington terminal.
The Risk Assessment commissioned by the Lymington Harbour Commissioners is being carried out by independent consultants BMT SeaTech, in order that the Commissioners may decide what restrictions it may be necessary to place on the operation of the ferries.
Wightlink are holding crew familiarisation trials. We understand that minor alterations are to be made to the Yarmouth terminal as a result of these trials.
Later, the MCA will be carrying out Passenger Certification Trials.
The sea trials are ongoing and the timing of their completion is very dependent on the weather as certain of the trials need to be conducted in strong wind conditions. We would conjecture that, by the time the sea trials are completed, BMT SeaTech have drafted their report, and this has gone through the consultation process, we could well be into December by the time the final report is published.
We understand Natural England is awaiting the completion of the sea trials before giving its advice to MFA for their consideration when preparing the Appropriate Assessment. Thus, the timing of publication of the latter is in the hands of the Regulators.
Appropriate Assessment (AA) and Environmental Impact assessment (EIA)
The Council of the SPS are satisfied that the Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Regulations, rigorously pursued, will provide adequate environmental protection, and that the decision not to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment is in all the circumstances reasonable. The SPS will continue to press for transparent compliance with all relevant statutory requirements
Report by Jeremy Clarke SPS Chairman