A Wightlink ferry docks at Lymington. Picture by Peter Boam.
A JUDGE’S decision to dismiss an appeal by the Lymington River Association (LRA) about the use of larger Wightlink vessels has been welcomed by the cross-Solent ferry company.
It was the latest stage of a legal battle that has run for almost five years and cost the Isle of Wight ferry company an estimated £3.5million.
The LRA had appealed against a decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government not to overturn a ruling by the Planning Inspectorate that allowed Wightlink to go ahead with berth works to accommodate larger ferries on the Yarmouth to Lymington route.
Last year the High Court refused to grant LRA permission to apply for a judicial review against that decision and a subsequent written appeal was also rejected.
On Thursday last week, Lord Justice Sullivan dismissed a further attempt to appeal, and according to a statement issued by Wightlink, Lord Justice Sullivan described the LRA’s argument as wholly misconceived.
He said: "This case should not be kept alive, it should be given the death, in fact it should have been given the death a long time ago."
In a statement Wightlink chief operating officer John Burrows said: "The LRA’s claims have now been considered and rejected by the Planning Inspector, the Secretary of State, the High Court (twice) and the Court of Appeal (twice).
"While we recognise the rights of individuals to challenge developments on environmental grounds, we believe this case has gone too far.
"It seems to us to be quite wrong that a small group of individuals should be able to impose such a costly legal burden on the UK taxpayer and on our company."