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Council of IOS / Andrew George MP Exchange Emails

posted Jan 18, 2011, 5:11 PM by Richard Cliffe   [ updated Jan 18, 2011, 6:08 PM ]

There have been several rounds of emails (salvos might be more accurate) between Marian Bennett Vice Chair CIOS and Andrew George MP.  These are attached below.

 

The exchanges started over the apparent non-receipt of an email by the MP for which the Vice Chairman unbraided the MP in front of other on 15 Dec 10.  The incident came after what appeared to be blatent attempts by our MP to frustrate a deputation from the CIOS from meeting Norman Baker MP, a deputation the Minister had encouraged the Vice Chair to make at a regional Dept of Transport meeting in early October 2010 in Exeter.  Because etiquette requires meetings with Ministers to be organized through the Constituency MP, she was told to put in her request via the MP.  The MP proved very difficult indeed to contact on the matter.  At the public meeting called by FoPH on 22 Oct 10 he acknowledged the request from Cllr Bennett to set up such a meeting (she raised the issue of lack of progress with her request at the public meeting).  The MP tried to get the CIOS deputation to accept objectors in their deputation (from the Town Council) but unsurprisingly the CIOS declined to ‘spike its own guns’. Eventually, the MP set up two meetings with the Minister on 15 Dec 10 – one led by CIoS and the other comprising objectors (Mayor Ruhrmund for Pz Town Council & Penzance Business Network/FofPH). 

 

Comment

The decision over whether to fund the IOS Ferry Link is imminent (by end of Jan 11). 

By the end March 2011, the situation becomes irretrievable with the expiry of several  critical tenders. If the IOS Ferry Project, as currently planned, is not funded then the outlook is bleak.   The helicopter service is known to be in severe financial trouble.  Sale of the Penzance Heliport (to Sainsbury’s) stops BIH slipping into insolvency but does not guarantee investment in a new heliport given declining passenger numbers on the route.  There are exploratory investigations into an alternative heliport site but BIH will need to convince its bankers that such an investment is a good idea.  Whilst the Skybus service can expand if the helicopter service stops, it needs the back up of a reliable ferry service given the numbers of summer visitors and the air service’s vulnerability to weather.  The Scillonian III is 33 yrs old and the MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency), who licence the vessel, are ‘turning the screw’ and requiring expensive modifications  or threatening to reduce permitted passenger numbers for the 2011 season. 

In short, the passenger routes to Scilly could start unravelling quickly after this summer and certainly long before the next General Election. If there is no funded solution in the pipeline for delivery in 2013 then travel to and from the Islands could become a lot more troublesome and a real brake on the tourism industry upon which the Islands rely.  With no regulatory compliant solution in the pipeline we can expect an uncompromising stance by the MCA on vessel licencing and a similar uncompromising stance by the HSE over harbour operations.  One thing is certain, irrespective of the funding decision, the IOS ferry link will remain a high profile topic and in the news.

 

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Richard Cliffe,
Jan 18, 2011, 6:05 PM
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Richard Cliffe,
Jan 18, 2011, 6:04 PM
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Richard Cliffe,
Jan 18, 2011, 6:04 PM
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Richard Cliffe,
Jan 18, 2011, 6:04 PM
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Richard Cliffe,
Jan 18, 2011, 6:05 PM
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Richard Cliffe,
Jan 18, 2011, 6:03 PM
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Richard Cliffe,
Jan 18, 2011, 6:05 PM
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