Jurisdiction Project

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a diamond-shaped island located in the English Channel, separated from the mainland by 4 km (the Solent channel). A part of England, it is a county unto itself, and elects one Member of Parliament to the British House of Commons.

Land: 38 km (23 mi.) x 20 km (13 ½ mi.). Highest elevation 240 m (787 ft).

Located 6.4 km (4mi) off the South central coast of England, 2 hours from London.

Latitude and Longitude:
50 67 North Latitude and 1 31 West Longitude.

Time Zone:

Total Land Area:


Mild winters, mild summers. Is sunniest location in Southern England, averaging 5 hours/day of sunshine, peaking with 8 hours/day in summer months. Average annual rainfall 30.39 inches (77.2 cm). Mean maximum temperature in July and August: 20.56 Centigrade/69 F; January and February 7.78 Centigrade/46 F.

Natural Resources:
The land, which attracts tourists and provides farmland.


Total GDP:
1998 1,774,000,000.00 USD

Per Capita GDP:
1998 13,834.00 USD

% of GDP per Sector:
  Primary Secondary Tertiary

% of Population Employed by Sector
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
2001 1% 17.5% 81.5%

External Aid/Remittances:

The island GDP grew an average of 1.5%/year between 1990 and 2000.

Labour Force:
2003 58,000

Year: Unemployment Rate (% of pop.)
2001 3.2%
2003 2.7%
2002 3%

Tourism (with approximately 2.5 million tourists visiting annually, is the source of approximately one-quarter of jobs and GDP), composites (specialist materials), associated technology, aviation, marine and electronics, horticulture.

Niche Industry:
Aircraft manufacturing, yachting. The island has a strong high-tech industry, centred on its history of aerospace manufacturing. Besides building aircrafts, such as the Britten-Norman line, there is a strong composites sector – GKN Aerospace is scheduled to open an Advanced Composites Facility, dedicated to designing and manufacturing technologies for large composite aerostructures, in March 2005. The island’s composite sector is also involved in other capacities, such as creating turbine blades for wind farms. High-tech firms are attracted to the island by its relatively low-wage economy, as well as assistance from the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership, whose services include the Innovation Centre, a “business incubator” which provides high-quality office space for new businesses, with easy access to expert advice and up-to-date research and technology aid. Another major draw for the island economy is the yachting industry. The Isle of Wight is an internationally recognized yachting centre, with the majority of activity occurring between April and October. The town of Cowes is home to the Royal Yacht Squadron, founded in 1815, as well as 5 other major yacht clubs. Cowes Week is considered to be the largest sailing regatta in the world, with over 8,000 participants and 200,000 visitors, as well as the oldest, having occurred annually since 1826, with notable aberrations occurring during the two world wars.

The Isle of Wight tourism sector, which drew a record high 2.7 million visitors in 1999, accounts for ¼ of the island’s GDP and employs a similar portion of the working population. It is widely recognized that the island’s environment is a major draw – the top tourist site is the Needles Park, with its rugged rock formations on the coastline – thus there is considerable support for the many protective measures. The tourist industry is trying to recreate its image as a summer destination to that of a year-round resort. The seasonal nature of the industry has led to a transportation crisis, as the majority of tourists disregard public transit and clog the existing roadways, a problem aggravated by the concentrated peak season.


Imports and Exports:

Tot. Value of Imports 0.00 ()
From Eu:
Import Partners (EU:)
Partners Outside EU:
Import Partners:
Tot. Value of Exports ()
To Eu:
Export Partners:
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Export Partners:
Main Imports:
Main Exports:



Number of Airports:
No scheduled air services. There are two airports, both located on the eastern tip of the Isle of Wight. Sandown, which has a single grass runway, 884 x 40 m (2,900 x 131 ft), and Bembridge, which has two concrete runways, 837 x 23 m (2746 x 75 ft). Both airports operate charter flights and are home to a variety of resident businesses.

Number of Main Ports:
All goods and passengers arrive via ferry. Ferries travel from Lymington to Yarmouth, Southampton and Cowes, and Portsmouth to Fishbourne. Hovercraft transportation is provided from Southsea to Ryde and a passenger catamaran is available from Portsmouth to Ryde and Southampton to Cowes. The ferries take approximately 30-35 minutes to cross the Solent, the catamaran takes 15 minutes, and the hovercraft under 10 minutes.



There are 489 miles of roads. In 2001 75.4% of households owned at least one car/van. Electric railway operates from Ryde Pier to Shanklin. Bus companies provide service across the island and to the mailand. Numerous taxi and tour companies exist.


Other Forms of Transportation:

Economic Zones:

Energy Policy:

Year Total Energy Production (Mwh) Thermic (Mwh) Geothermic (Mwh) Other (Mwh) Total Energy Consumption (Mwh) Domestic (Mwh) Commercial (Mwh) Public Service (Mwh) Industry (Mwh) Public Lighting (Mwh)


Official Currency:
British pound

Banking and Insurance:
Number of Banks and Credit Unions:
Number of Agricultural Credit Unions:
Number of Insurance Companies:

 Isle of Wight is fully integrated into Great Britain’s banking system. There are 19 banking outlets and 1 credit union on the island. There is a wide assortment of local and international insurance brokerages.

Financial Services:
Isle of Wight is open to foreign investment.

Outward and open. Government and private web sites on economy and tourism extensive. Isle of Wight Council website is impressive, allowing one to apply for license, parking permits, reserve a microfiche reader for family history, request birth certificate, or even pay for Council services online. There are three radio stations, a weekly newspaper, the Isle of Wight County Press, and a local television station, Solent TV.

Public Ownership:
Many responsibilities, such as waste management, have been privatized on Isle of Wight. Government retains responsibility for such areas as local education, health care, and the justice system.

Land Use:
Freehold – private land, ownership transferable. One-half of the island (approximately 189 sq. km) is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which protects the land from development (see Important Legislation section for more information). The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has 5 wildlife reserves on the island – Arreton Down, Eaglehead & Bloodstone Copses, St. Lawrence Bank, St. Lawrence Undercliff, Swanpond Copse – totalling 91.3 acres. The National Trust owns and manages 1 National Nature Reserve at Newton. It also manages 6 Local Nature Reserves – Afton Marsh, Rew Down, Sibden Hill, Batts Copse, Dodnor Creek, and Shide Chalk Pit. A seventh Local Nature Reserve – Alverstone Marsh LNR – is leased to the Wight Nature Fund by the Isle of Wight Council. There are approximately 40 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (that is, areas recognized for their national biological or geological interest) covering approximately 11% of the island. Some of this is private land, but large parts are owned by the National Trust, while others are owned by local conservation bodies. The Countryside Section of Isle of Wight Council directly manages 6 SSIs and is involved in managing others. Another 10% of the total island is designated Sites of Interest for Nature Conservation.

According to a 1991 census, 257.963 sq. km (99.6 sq. mi) of farmland is under cultivation. Self-sufficient in milk and vegetables; the majority of produce is sent to the British mainland.

Marine Activity:

Maritime surroundings controlled by Britain.

Marine Life:

Critical Issues:
Critical issues: Widespread shortage of skilled workforce, aging population, below average school performance results, seasonal nature of many jobs. Critical needs: Improved roadways to handle mass influx of summer visitors via automobile.


The administrative centre/county capital is Newport.

Political System:
Part of Great Britain’s parliamentary democracy. The Isle of Wight elects 1 seat in Great Britain’s 659-seat Parliament. Isle of Wight Council created in 1995 as a unitary authority responsible for local government activities, replacing the former Isle of Wight County Council and the two borough councils of Medina and South Wight. Composed of 48 seats. If over one-half of Councillors belong to a given party (or alliance), their leader or nominated representative is Leader of Council; if there is no majority a ‘hung council’ is declared, and the Leader is usually nominated by the party with the most elected Councillors. Councillors are responsible for ensuring Council’s services meet the islanders’ needs, which they accomplish by establishing policies and strategies. The full Council meets once a month at the Council Chamber at County Hall in Newport. Council is responsible for education, social care, housing, highways, coastal protection, leisure, waste collection and disposal, fire and rescue. The Isle of Wight Council is not responsible for health care or police services. In addition, there are 27 town and parish councils with limited powers. Supreme Court: The Isle of Wight does not have an independent court system.

Political Parties:
Currently governed by Island First, an alliance of Liberal Democrats and Independents. Also represented in Council are Conservative and Labour candidates. Elections: Councillors are elected every four years by universal adult suffrage.

Important Legislation:
Act to confirm a Provisional Order of the Local Government Board relating to the Isle of Wight, 26 August 1889. Established the administrative County of Isle of Wight, separate from Southampton. Isle of Wight Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Designation) Order, 1963. Created Isle of Wight AONB, which covers approximately 189 sq. km, or one-half of the island. Composed of 5 parcels of land. AONB conserve and enhance natural beauty and heritage throughout England and Wales (there are 41 in total) in areas that do not fit National Park’s recreational purpose. AONB legislation is a constraint to development and public body operations and policy within these areas, and is a lever for additional funding from the exchequer via a number of funding streams to assist in the conservation, enhancement, and management of these areas. Local Government Act, 1972. Reaffirmed Isle of Wight’s status as a separate administrative county. Was preceded by considerable lobbying, after it was learned that this status would, in all likelihood, be lost.

Principal Taxes:

Associated Power:
Great Britain, a county (unitary authority) of


Treaties: Handled by Great Britain.


Island Area (km sq.) Population % of Total Population

Population (by age): <16: 24,149; 16-74: 93,393; >74: 15,189; (2001).

Year Resident Population

Age of Population: 0-14 15-24 25-49 50-64 65 and up
2001 24149 0 0 0 15,189



Crude Birth Rate:
1999 8.9%

Life Expedctancy:

Crude Death Rate:
1999 14.1%


Class Division:


(Census 2001): Christian (73.7%), Buddhist (0.2%), no religion (17.3%).

 According to a 2003 survey conducted by the Learning and Skills Council for Hampshire and Isle of Wight, 9.3% of respondents listed their reading skills as low or basic.

Education System:
School attendance is mandatory for students between the ages of 5 and 16. The Isle of Wight is a Local Education Authority of the United Kingdom. It follows the National Curriculum, but has the power to adapt it according to local needs/interests. There are 69 schools maintained on the Isle of Wight. There are 46 primary schools (ages 5-9), 16 middle schools (9-13), 5 secondary (high) schools (13+), and 2 special schools. A recent study indicates that in 2002 77.3% of year 11 “leavers” continued their education. The only local post-secondary educational institute is the Isle of Wight College located in Newport. Offers a variety of professional skills training programs, including Beauty and Holistics, Childcare, and Engineering, Composites (course designed in conjunction with local companies to help alleviate labour shortage in this area), and Electronics. The Isle of Wight College is not funded by the Local Education Authority.

Total Pre-schools:(2002)
Total Primary Schools  
First Level:
Second Level:
Third Level:
Total Secondary Schools: 5
Total Professional Schools 1


Number of Schools per Island:


Students Enrolled:


Medical Services:
Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust is the sole provider of healthcare on the island. Provides acute, community, mental health and learning disabilities, and ambulance services to the Isle of Wight. The district general hospital is St. Mary’s Hospital, with 499 beds (including mental health and rehabilitation). Located in Newport, it provides general services, surgeries, and specialist services in urology, orthopaedics, cardiology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, maternity and paediatrics. Additional services are provided by visiting consultants from the mainland. There are 26 General Practitioner clinics located throughout the island.


 The Isle of Wight was conquered by the Romans, under Vespasian, in 43 AD. During the Roman occupation of Britain it was known as the Island of Vectis, a name that fell out of use and was replaced by the current name in the 5th century AD. Given the lack of fortifications from this period it is suspected that the Romans peacefully co-existed with the island’s agriculturally minded inhabitants. The Saxon chief Cerdic established the kingdom of Wessex in 495; shortly thereafter he conquered the Isle of Wight, and upon slaying much of its population, repopulated it with Jutes and Saxons. The island switched hands a few times over the next 200 years before Caedwalla, a descendent of Cerdic, took possession of the island in 686. Since the Isle of Wight was the last part of England to Christianize, Caedwalla intended to repopulate the island with Christians. Residents who accepted the faith were permitted to stay, while all others were rooted out. Beginning in 787 and lasting for the next two centuries, the Isle of Wight was raided numerously by Danish pirates who sought to use the island as a post-raid hideway. William the Conqueror took control of England in 1066. William granted lordship over the Isle of Wight to his relative William FitzOsbern. In 1101 the title of lordship passed on to the De Redvers, who maintained this until Countess Isabella de Fortibus sold the island to Edward I for 6,000 marks in 1293. During the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) fought between England and France the Isle of Wight was pillaged several times, most notably in 1377 when the French plundered its northern towns and lay siege to Carisbrooke Castle. In the late-1880s the British government proposed sweeping reform of local governments through the creation of local councils, as articulated in the Local Government Bill of 1888. The Isle of Wight was initially slated to be included within the County of Southampton, raising fears among locals that their concerns and interests would be buried beneath those of their mainland counterparts. A fierce lobbying campaign commenced, and the island residents prevailed in 1890 when the island was designated its own county, granting a degree of local autonomy. There were fears in the early 1970s that the Isle of Wight would lose its status as a county, but a renewed lobbying effort managed to retain the status quo, cemented in the Local Government Act 1972.


Recent Significant Events:

Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:


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Retrieved from http://daveg4otu.tripod.com/iowweb/bem.html January 18, 2005. Britten-Norman. Retrieved from http://www.britten-norman.com/home.htm January 28, 2005. “Business,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iow.gov.uk/living_here/stats/images/Business.pdf January 9, 2005. “Business Plan 2002-2004,” Isle of Wight Economic Partnership. Retrieved from http://www.iwep.com/business_plan.asp January 11, 2005. “Census 2001,” National Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/pop2001/Isle_of_Wight_UA.asp January 6, 2005. “Comment: Radio,” Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition), 00999660, August 23, 1999. Retrieved from database: Canadian Business and Current Affairs, January 5, 2005. “County Monitor: 1991 Census Isle of Wight,” Office of Population Censuses & Surveys [UK], May 2002. Davies, Paul. “First local terrestrial service launches,” New Media Markets, November 5, 1998, Vol. 16, Issue 40. Retrieved from database: Canadian Business and Current Affairs, January 5, 2005. Davies, Paul. “Cable veterans buy Isle of Wight franchise,” New Media Markets, November 5, 1998, Vol. 16, Issue 40. Retrieved from database: Canadian Business and Current Affairs, January 5, 2005. “Designated Sites,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iwight.com/living_here/planning/Countryside/Ecology/Designated_Sites/ January 7, 2005. Direct Air. Retrieved from http://www.eghj.com/directair/index.htm January 14, 2005. “Education Statistics Isle of Wight 2002/2003,” Directorate of Education and Community Development, Isle of Wight Council, November 2003. Retrieved from http://eduwight.iow.gov.uk/the_lea/edu_stats/images/Book02-03-2J.pdf January 9, 2005. “Enterprise Hub,” Isle of Wight Economic Partnership. Retrieved from http://www.iwep.com/projectprofile.asp?project=10 January 11, 2005. “Frequently Asked Questions,” Isle of Wight Festival 2004. Retrieved from http://www.isleofwightfestival.com/info.asp January 6, 2005. Gift to Nature. Retrieved from http://www.gifttonature.co.uk/ January 7, 2005. “GP Surgeries,” Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS. Retrieved from http://www.iowht.org.uk/gp/ January 13, 2005. “GVA & Wages,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iow.gov.uk/living_here/stats/images/GVA&Wages.pdf January 9, 2005. “Hampshire & Isle of Wight Team,” English Nature. Retrieved from http://www.english-nature.org.uk/about/teams/Intro.asp?Id=22 January 7, 2005. Herbert, Roger. “The Medina Valley Centre – fieldwork on the Isle of Wight,” Journal of Biological Education, Autumn 1992, Vol. 26, Issue 3. Retrieved from database: Academic Search Elite, January 4, 2005. Hibbing, John R., and Samuel C. Patterson. “Representing a Territory: Constituency Boundaries for the British House of Commons,” Journal of Politics, November 1986, Vol. 48, Number 4. Retrieved from database: Canadian Business and Current Affairs, January 5, 2005. 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Isle of Wight AONB Partnership. “Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan 2004-2009,” Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Retrieved from http://www.wightaonb.org.uk/images/AONBManagement04.PDF January 7, 2005. Isle of Wight College. Retrieved from http://www.iwightc.ac.uk/ January 7, 2005. “Isle of Wight Council Members,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iow.gov.uk/council/councillors/councillors.asp January 9, 2005. “Isle of Wight – Population present 1971-91.” National Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/xsdataset.asp?More=Y January 6, 2005. Isle of Wight Radio. Retrieved from http://www.iwradio.co.uk/ January 7, 2005. Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Retrieved from http://www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk/ January 6, 2005. “Isle of Wight UA.” National Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/00mw.asp January 6, 2005. Isle of Wight Weather Station. Retrieved from http://www.isleofwightweather.co.uk/ January 7, 2005. “Labour Market Profile Isle of Wight,” National Statistics (Nomis). Retrieved from http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/2038431803/report.aspx?town=isle%20of%20wight January 5, 2005. “Land Use on the Isle of Wight,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iwight.com/living_here/statistics/land.asp January 9, 2005. “List of Insurance companies/brokers,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iwight.com/living_here/help/insuranceComps.asp?frmType=4 January 9, 2005. “Maps and Information,” Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Retrieved from http://www.wightaonb.org.uk/maps_info/ January 7, 2005. Martin, Andrew. “Palm trees and heat. Travelling to the Isle of Wight ought to require a passport,” New Statesman, 13647431, July 28, 2003, Vol. 132, Issue 4648. Retrieved from database: Academic Search Elite, January 4, 2005. Mathews, Chris. “Constitution of the Council,” Isle of Wight Council, October 2004. Retrieved from http://www.iow.gov.uk/council/what_is_a_council/images/IWCConstitutionOctober2004_v1.8_.pdf January 9, 2005. “Media Centre,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iwight.gov.uk/living_here/media/default.asp January 9, 2005. “Moorings,” Cowes Online. Retrieved from http://www.cowes.co.uk/moorings.html January 7, 2005. Morris, Paul. “Tuning up for the big event,” Supply Management, 13622021, August 22, 2002, Vol. 7, Issue 17. Canadian Business and Current Affairs, January 5, 2005. “Navigation Information,” Bembridge Airport. Retrieved from http://www.eghj.com/nav/home.htm January 20, 2005. Parmalee, Patrica J. “Industry Outlook,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, 00052175, August 2, 2004, Vol. 161, Issue 5. Retrieved from database: Academic Search Elite, January 4, 2005. “Planemaker rescued by Omanis after shutdown,” Professional Engineering, 09536639, May 10, 2000, Vol. 13 Issue 9. Retrieved from database: Academic Search Elite, January 4, 2005. “Population Estimates for Mid-2002,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iow.gov.uk/living_here/stats/images/PopulationEstimatesforMid-2002.pdf January 9, 2005. Power FM. Retrieved from http://www.powerfm.com/ January 9, 2005. Red Funnel. Retrieved from http://www.redfunnel.co.uk/ January 6, 2005. Rees, Harry. “When Is An Island Not An Island? When It Is The Isle of Wight,” in What Status for Europe’s Islands?, May 2000. Retrieved from http://www.eurisles.com/Textes/statut_iles/WIGHTEN.htm January 12, 2005. Rusch, Peter. “Cowes Week 2000: an historical regatta like no other, Canadian Yachting, 03840999, Fall 2000. Retrieved from database: Canadian Business and Current Affairs, January 5, 2005. “Sandown Airport,” Aviation in Hampshire since 1900. Retrieved from http://daveg4otu.tripod.com/iowweb/san.html January 16, 2005. “Schools,” EduWight. Retrieved from http://eduwight.iow.gov.uk/schools/ January 9, 2005. “Skills Currently Possessed,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iow.gov.uk/living_here/stats/images/SkillsPossessed2003.pdf January 9, 2005. Solent TV. Retrieved from http://www.solent.tv/ January 9, 2005. South East England Development Agency, “The Performance of the South East Economy,” Economic Profile o f the Southeast. Retrieved from http://www.seeda.co.uk/Publications/Policy_&_Economics/ January 13, 2005. Southern Vectis Omnibus Company. Retrieved from http://www.svoc.co.uk January 6, 2005. “Statistics about Isle of Wight,” National Statistics. Retrieved from http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/areaprofileframes.asp?T=A&AID=175847&TID=13&AREA=isle%20of%20wight January 6, 2005. “Strategy aims to boost Isle of Wight’s profile,” Planning, 14672073, August 8, 2003, Issue 1531. Retrieved from database: Canadian Business and Current Affairs, January 5, 2005. “Statement of Accounts 2003-04,” Isle of Wight Council Performance Papers. Retrieved from http://www.iwight.com/council/departments/finance_business/images/SOC2003-04.pdf January 20, 2005. “Statistics/Weird and Wonderful Facts,” Official Isle of Wight Tourism. Retrieved from http://www.islandbreaks.co.uk/media/facts_and_faqs/stats_facts.asp January 11, 2005. “The History of the Island,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.islandbreaks.co.uk/media/facts_and_faqs/history_of_the_island.asp January 13, 2005. “The Island business community,” Isle of Wight. Retrieved from http://www.iwight.com/isle_working/business/business.asp January 9, 2005. “The Isle of Wight: A Very Brief History,” Isle of Wight Index. Retrieved from http://www.wightindex.com/history/index.asp January 14, 2005. The Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce. 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