Hopes rise for the Pride of Hayling

The Hayling Island ferry
The Hayling Island ferry
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The closing of the Hayling Island ferry last year after 30 years of service caused consternation among residents of all ages and visitors alike.

The 300-metre link between Portsea and south Hayling has worked for hundreds of years and was once operated by rowing boats and then by steam.

In more recent times the Pride of Hayling ploughed to and from Eastney completing some 70,000 individual passenger trips in the year before being withdrawn and then sold to new owners.

Compared with alternative ways of getting from Hayling Island to Portsmouth, the ferry is impeccably the greenest and most economic.

Recently published calculations show that on the basis of 70,000 passenger trips and 13,000 miles, the ferry produced 37 tonnes of planet- harming CO2 and consumed 2,600 gallons of fuel, costing about £12,500.

By contrast the distance by road from south Hayling to Southsea, one way, is 18 kilometres.

If the same number of journeys were made by car they would produce 312 tonnes of CO2 consuming almost 29,000 gallons of fuel, costing £105,000.

Hopes have been raised a little when the new owners revealed the preparation of a business plan which projects between 60 and 100 passengers per day taking three 10- minute trips an hour, paying £5 return and running seven days a week.

But to meet these numbers the ferry will need crewing and maintaining as well as having to pay a licence fee to the Harbour Authority.

There is also the question of a bus service to the ferry terminals on both sides.

When added together the fare income alone is unlikely to recover all the costs so a subsidy from local councils, charitable and voluntary groups would be necessary.

One idea being pursued is the launching of a non-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) of which over 10,000 now exist in the UK.

Shareholders can include residents, local groups and societies as well as councils and other bodies.

By all indications Hayling Islanders want their ferry back up and running.

Their enthusiasm is shared by hundreds of walkers and cyclists completing the Harbours Bike Ride and tourists who add real value to the economies of both islands.
n Havant & East Hampshire Friends of the Earth is based at Emsworth and campaigns on local and national environmental issues.

For more information go to havantfoe.org.uk or go to the Facebook page at facebook.com/havant.foe.