THE Department for Transport has given the Isle of Wight Council an encouraging “thumbs up” on the way it is improving transport on the Island.
Assessing the council’s progress on its delivery of its five year Local Transport Plan (2006-2011), the council has been told by government that it was demonstrating good progress in all four priority areas — accessibility, congestion, air quality and environment, and road safety.
The council was also praised for its work both with the Isle of Wight NHS, in developing a joint workplace travel plan and also in Island schools, more than 70 per cent of which had approved school travel plans.
The increasing number of people using bus services was noted and the contribution made to that by the council support of the concessionary bus fare and Student Rider schemes.
Government, however, recognised the challenge was now to maintain and build on this. Council efforts to increase road safety were well-thought-out and balanced.
“The main challenges will be to maintain progress on delivering sustainable transport options in the context of the maintenance Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and schools reorganisation, to align the transport targets and programme with your Local Area Agreement and Eco-Island,” said the report.
The assessment in the council’s half-term report of its progress against the transport plan was welcomed by Cllr Tim Hunter-Henderson, Isle of Wight Council cabinet member for environment and transport.
“That we are making good progress in all areas of the plan is good news because this is an area that residents view as a high priority.
“One reason for this success has been our decision to commit considerable investment in transport schemes — investment that will continue in the period up to work on the highways PFI that will see the entire road, pavement and footpath network brought up to an acceptable standard.”
• Interview with Peter Hayward, the Isle of Wight Council’s new head of highways and transport, in the Friday, March 13, County Press.