From David McKinley, Sunfield, Chale Street, Chale:
WE live in an era of change; the Island on which I was born more than 70 years ago has long since disappeared and the ubiquity of the supermarket and the density of the traffic is now the same here as anywhere in the country.
Judged by the result of a head count at a gathering I recently attended there are now more Overners living here than there are native Islanders.
They will never have heard the IW dialect spoken. I say all this because I believe that all those things which those of us who were formerly against a bridge to the mainland felt worth preserving have now disappeared and the concept of joining ourselves to England ought to be re-examined. It has long been contended The Solent is the most expensive stretch of water in the world to cross but until now this has only affected our personal travel and the cost of our new car or the food on our tables has remained as competitive as anywhere in the country.
However, as the world fuel crisis begins to bite this could all change.
We must bear in mind that everything we use, from a pound of butter to the bricks and mortar of our new homes, comes across that stretch of water and if, as a result of fuel charges, the cost of getting it here becomes prohibitive the cost of living here could become untenable. Added to this the Island’s economy, which depends on the tourist, may dwindle if that tourist can no longer afford to come here!
It is not, however, all doom and gloom. We could turn this to our advantage and become world leaders in reducing our carbon footprint. The tidal race between Fort Victoria and Hurst Point would, if directed through turbines, be sufficient to power the entire Island and make this the first carbon neutral land area in the world. This could be achieved by joining ourselves to the mainland at that point.
All major shipping entering the ports of Portsmouth and Southampton enter those ports past the Nab tower and only much smaller shipping comes in past The Needles. This smaller shipping could, I am sure, be accommodated by the suitable design of any causeway and bridge which may be put in at the western end of the Solent.
I believe the time has come to be pragmatic about such a project for which finance would probably be available in view of its environmental advantage and, as they say in Westminster, ‘I commend it to the House’.
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