The recent, shocking flooding in Lower Laxey has left a significant number of the village residents in a state of serious hardship. Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused and it will be upwards of six months before many will return to any sense of normality.

The community spirit shown in the wake of the incident has been heartwarming, but the questions raised by the flood suggest plenty could have been done to negate the effects of the torrential downpour that triggered the chain of events along Glen Road.

Chief Minister, Howard Quayle, has vowed to do everything possible to ensure a similar incident doesn’t happen in the future, and Chairman of Manx Utilities, Dr Alex Allinson, issued the people of the village with an unreserved apology, and a pledge to do better. 

The people of Laxey deserve better than what they have had from government in recent times. Glen Road had flooded in the recent past. Few people will forget the image of a double-decker bus sinking into the river as the old Laxey Harbour Bridge succumbed to a raging torrent in December 2015. It was fortunate that the incident didn’t result in loss of life. Despite this potentially horrific collapse some obvious measures to reduce the chances of a future catastrophic floods were never implemented. 

In this latest incident the disused sluice gate, adjacent to the Woollen Mills, that had been identified years ago by local residents as a potential flood hazard, acted as a dam to fallen trees that had been driven downriver by floodwater. Furthermore a large gap in the wall, that had been created to enable work to be carried out on a weir, proved disastrous, enabling thousands of tons of water to divert onto the upper Glen Road – helped by the presence of a stranded digger just below the hole.

Many of the problems faced by lower Laxey begin high above, and on both sides of the valley, where water run off from fields cascades onto roads that connect with the village. Many of the old land drains, some of which are made up of small 12inch pipes, have become totally blocked, and even when cleared can be totally overwhelmed by sudden heavy downpours.

An announcement by the Chief Minister of an independent review is welcomed, and it is hoped that the final recommendations when they are made are actioned upon, rather than shelved because of budgetary constraints. It is also hoped that the person charged with carrying out the review taps into the huge body of local knowledge held by local farmers and landowners when formulating his report. In the meantime it is encouraging to see work has progressed with some urgency to negate the chances of the river bursting its banks again. A new floodwall is already under construction, and some 600 tonnes of debris has been removed from the river. Also several trees fringing the river further upstream have been trimmed or removed.

For those people whose homes were under six feet of water it will be all look like too little, too late. But at least it seems government is finally taking the threat of further flooding seriously.  

Banking and Investments – business365 special feature

This month B365 puts the spotlight on the companies that play a key role here on the Island.


Our feature puts the spotlight on a number of highly prominent law firms who adhere to the highest legal principles at all times.


The 2nd Isle of Man Responsible Business Awards have taken place with over 100 people celebrating individuals and organisations that have demonstrated a strong commitment to achieving their corporate social responsibilities.


Isle of Man Meats has been given Grade A status following a rigorous, independent, annual audit of its meat plant, which met high standards across a wide range of checks, including food safety, legal compliance, and animal welfare.


  • Routes to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester to continue 
  • Two Q400 aircraft to be replaced by two ATRs operated by Stobart Air
  • Flybe base to close under phased and managed programme

Following a thorough review of its future fleet and network plans, Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has announced changes to its Isle of Man operations to be completed through a phased and managed programme by the start of Summer 2020.

In a new commercial arrangement with Stobart Air, the airline’s two DeHavilland Q400 aircraft will be replaced by more economically viable ATR 72-600s on the established routes that Flybe will continue to offer, which include Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.  Stobart Air is a successful ATR operator and these shorter routes, that Flybe currently operates to and from the Isle of Man, are more suited to this type of aircraft. 

The existing contract with the Isle of Man Department of Health and Social Care will remain in place, supporting customers seeking to access health services in the UK. 

The first ATR is planned to enter service on 5th January 2020 followed by a second ATR on 29th March 2020, when Stobart Air will assume full Isle of Man operations and continue to operate these routes. 

This means that Flybe will no longer require a physical base in the Isle of Man.  The news was communicated personally to the Flybe team by Mark Anderson, CEO of Connect Airways, who visited the Isle of Man and also discussed the future plans with key stakeholders amongst which were Minister Raymond Harmer, Department of Infrastructure; Nick Black, Chief Executive and Tim Baker, Member of House of Keys, Department of Infrastructure; Mark Lewin, Chief Executive, Department for Enterprise; Ann Reynolds, Director of Ports and Jez Spake, Deputy Airport Director. 

The company says that providing Isle of Man customers with a good choice of connections and a great customer experience remains its number one priority. Customers can continue to take advantage of one-stop connections that will remain available from Isle of Man to the world with its airline partners Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Qatar and Air France via Flybe’s Birmingham and Manchester hubs.

The daily Heathrow service, which was only introduced as part of Summer 2019 schedule, will conclude at the end of this summer season, with the last flight being on Saturday 26th October 2019.


There’s been more bad news for beleaguered Ronaldsway Airport with the announcement from Flybe that they would no longer require a physical base in the Isle of Man.

The airline, which was acquired by a consortium formed in December last year and made up of Cyrus Capital partners, Virgin and Stobart, is also going ahead with the planned withdrawal of its daily Isle of Man/Heathrow service on October 26th.

Routes to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester will continue, but will be operated by Stobart Air under a new commercial arrangement. The move will see the withdrawal of Flybe’s two De Havilland Q400 aircraft and their replacement with the slightly smaller ATR 72-600s.

The company claims the aircraft are better suited to the shorter routes and operate more economically.

The first ATR will enter service on the 5th of January and the second on 29th of March.

According to the company the new arrangements mean it no longer requires a physical base in the Isle of Man. The bad news was passed on personally to local staff, senior airport officials and politicians by Connect Airways CEO, Mark Anderson, during a recent visit to the Island.

The existing contract with the Department of Health and Social Care will continue. 

News of the Flybe move, whilst probably not totally unexpected, will certainly add to the airport’s woes. Recent estimates suggest it is losing around £3.7 million a year. 

A report into the airport’s operation by independent consultants has suggested an arms length state-owned company, with appropriate government control and scrutiny, would not eliminate losses but would provide greater commercial incentives, likely to minimise the need for subsidies in the future. The idea was supported by Tynwald in July and a plan is expected to be put before the Manx Parliament in the Spring of next year.

What is certain is that there’s no magic bullet that can turn the airport’s fortunes around. It is hoped however, that a root and branch overhaul of the entire operation might at least improve efficiency, reduce losses and boost staff morale. Sadly though, achieving the latter rarely sits comfortably with cost-cutting initiatives. 


There can be few subjects more relevant at the moment than pensions. With changes to state pensions, the prospect of later retirement for millions of people and the ongoing effects of the financial crash on private pensions it’s still a hot topic. Business365 looks at the options… 


Airline Flybe says its Isle of Man base is to close. The move follows a review of its network plans in the wake of the recent takeover by Connect Airways. The service between the Island and Heathrow Airport will be withdrawn on October 26th.


Palatine Private Equity owned SMP Group of Companies (SMP), has announced the successful completion of a deal to acquire Helm Trust Company Limited (Helm), a highly regarded trust and corporate services provider based in Jersey.