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Scrutiny slams "absence of political focus" on sea links

Scrutiny slams

Monday 01 March 2021

Scrutiny slams "absence of political focus" on sea links

Monday 01 March 2021

Successive governments have focused on air connectivity to the exclusion of sea travel, the new Scrutiny Committee has said, as it launched a review into the security of the island's sea links.

In an update on the Scrutiny Management Committee's plans for the current States term, President Yvonne Burford said the state of Guernsey's sea links has been largely neglected by government in recent years.

With discussions increasingly common about the island's runway and the role of the States-owned airline, Aurigny, Deputy Burford said sea links had been the poor relation in the debate on connectivity.

"Over the last decade, a huge amount of scrutiny and wider political activity has been focussed on the island's air links but less consideration has been given to our links by sea," she said.

"The Committee believe that this absence of political focus is an oversight and that there is broad public interest, particularly regarding the frequency and cost of travel on and off the island by sea."


Pictured: Scrutiny Committee Member Deputy Simon Fairclough, President Yvonne Burford and Committee Member John Dyke. 

While the issue is wider than just passenger and vehicle travel, Deputy Burford said her committee had drawn up some clear boundaries when scoping the review to avoid it becoming a "vast, unmanageable task" for the time and resources available.

"Nevertheless, we do realise the interconnectedness of the many activities that take place in our ports, and the significant infrastructure that our harbour encompasses, and we will strive for a balanced and informed outcome that understands the various impacts of the many parts that make up the whole picture.

"We will seek to clarify how the States of Guernsey can secure its future sea connectivity, determine how effectively the current policy has been implemented, and assess whether the Bailiwick's current sea connectivity policy is fit for purpose."

Condor Ferries was asked for comment on the proposed review and Deputy Burford's remarks, however the company stated that it has "nothing to say" on the subject. 

Paul Luxon Condor CEO

Pictured: Condor Chief Executive Paul Luxon was asked for comment on the review of sea links and whether there are any issues that the operator would like it to address. 

It was revealed in December that talks were underway between Policy & Resources and Condor Ferries about a new Heads of Terms, which is a written agreement stipulating operating arrangements and requirements. 

Jersey signed a ten-year MoU with the Channel Islands ferry company back in 2014. Discussions between Condor and Economic Development last term came to nothing before being resurrected late last year. 

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