The IoD and Chamber are concerned that the States are failing to address the concerns of the business community in respect of the evaluation of the islands air and sea links.
The statement made by Deputy Lyndon Trott on behalf of P&R issued to the States on 12th December suggests conclusions have already been drawn in the evaluation of the current status and assessment for the development of the air links and sea links infrastructure. Whilst we agree with the opening statements regarding the criticality of the impact of our transport links, we disagree with the recommendation to terminate the evaluation of air links without having completed the evaluation process.
With regards to the Policy and Resources Statement the IoD and Chamber would like to clarify the following specific points:
(1) The business groups undertook the survey and submission at the ‘specific request’ of the Economic Development/ Policy and Resources committees in support of the work undertaken by PWC.
(2) The joint member survey clearly identified “Competitive Fares” as the top priority for Guernsey’s connections with London, highlighted by 80% of respondents. The need for “6 flights per day to Gatwick though out the year” was 5th, highlighted by 28% respondents. Given P&R’s statement it would be helpful to understand evidential basis on which they identified frequency as the leading consideration in the development of air links.
(3) It is apparent that Policy and Resources have focused on an extension to 2000m, which is inconsistent with our prior understanding that the PWC review was recommending investigations of two much more modest options, 1550m and 1750m. It would be helpful to understand why such an extreme position which would clearly cause a lot of distress in the local Parish has been proposed as the solution against which to judge viability.
The survey clearly expressed the concern of the business community with the current situation, the lack of progress and the lack of a cohesive plan to evolve our air and sea links leading to a lack of confidence to make investment in the business environment.