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17 February 2010, 12:47
Controversial bigger ferries between Lymington and the Isle of Wight- were brought in illegally.
A judge has decided Wightlink broke environmental rules when they introduced the new ferries last year. At the time over 2 thousand people signed a petition against them saying they were damaging the river bed.
But the ferries are still being allowed to run, although the company say they're looking at making changes to them.
In a statement Wightlink said:
"In his judgment, Mr Justice Owen has clarified that Wightlink was the appropriate competent authority to decide whether or not the new ferries should be introduced on the Lymington to Yarmouth route, and furthermore found that Wightlink had consulted correctly in advance of making its decision to introduce the new ferries. However, Mr Justice Owen also ruled that the way in which Wightlink took the decision to introduce the new ferries in February 2009 was in breach of the Habitats Directive. This breach was not intentional and, at the time of the decision, Wightlink believed it was acting fully in accordance with the applicable law.
Wightlink notes the judgment, and will consider what steps it will be required to take to address this issue. Wightlink intends to take such steps once the outcome of Natural England’s stakeholder engagement regarding Wightlink’s mitigation proposals is known, and as soon as Wightlink has received Natural England's revised formal advice.
Wightlink’s new ferries continue to navigate the Lymington River and the historically low levels of marine risk on the river have not been eroded by the introduction of the W Class ferries. Nothing in this judgment will affect the service Wightlink offers to its customers."