Isle of Wight ferries to continue despite legal ruling

Ferries will continue to run between Lymington and the Isle of Wight

Caravan Times can reliably inform readers that ferries will continue to run between the Hampshire town of Lymington and the Isle of Wight, despite a High Court ruling against the firm who manage the service.

Wightlink manage ferries between Lymington and the popular tourist island. Recently the firm replaced its 35-year old ferries with a new fleet of larger, “W-class” vessels as part of a £57 million investment in the service. However a local action group brought a legal challenge asserting that the W-Class craft is damaging the Lymington River. The waterway contains valued bird life and marine creatures, and as such is fiercly protected by action group the Lymington River Association.

In his judgement releasted today, Mr Justice Owen ruled that the manner in which Wightlink took the decision to introduce the new ferries in February 2009 was in breach of the Habitats Directive. However it was believed this breach was not intentional, and that Wightlink believed it was acting fully in accordance with the law.

AS a result Wightlink have issued a statement that it will “consider what steps it will be required to take in its role as competent authority to address this issue”. The company also believes “the historically low levels of marine risk on the river have not been eroded by the introduction of the W Class ferries.”

Crucially for UK tourists, Wightlink informed Caravan Times that “nothing in this judgment will affect the service Wightlink offers to its customers” and reiterated that they will continue to run a normal service.

Caravanners who are thinking of taking a break this year to the Isle of Wight should take a look at the official guide to the island at