Solent Wheel should have been given a year’s trial

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We have all marvelled at the seemingly fragile little swallow; how every spring it turns up in the same old nest having flown almost 10,000 miles back from South Africa.

As the Brent goose flies, it’s about 3,500 miles, a comparatively short journey, from Siberia to Southsea.

Thousands of the dark-bellied variety are about to fly into the Portsmouth area to over-winter on the fringes of Portsmouth and Langstone harbours.

How they all do it, returning to the same spot, year in, year out is something we do not fully understand. But their built-in sat-navs do it unerringly.

Thousands of miles over storm-tossed seas and through appalling weather and still they make it to this area.

They avoid all sorts of hazards so what chance is there that these geese would fail to spot an enormous white wheel towering over Southsea seafront from Clarence Pier.

A short distance away is an even bigger supposed ‘obstacle’ – the Spinnaker Tower. Do we see the bodies of dozens of Brent geese strewn at the foot of this landmark each autumn after they have smashed into it? Of course not.

Yes, the Solent Wheel moves, but hardly at the speed of wind turbines which do cause the deaths of many birds when they fly into their rotors.

So, yet again, the Brent goose has scuppered the dreams of a major Portsmouth project. Back in the 1990s it was the same species which wrecked Pompey’s dream of building their Parkway stadium at Farlington.

Perhaps moving this big wheel to another seaside town, one without the competing attraction of a huge tower offering better views, will suit the owners.

Much more sensible would have been for the city planners and Natural England to have granted the Solent Wheel a trial full year’s planning permission to see how, if at all, it would have affected those birds.

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