Thousands more Islanders will be encouraged to cycle and walk to work thanks to a £450,000 government investment.
The Department for Transport (DfT) Sustainable Transport Access Fund will support existing council and partnership projects over the next year to boost walking and cycling on the Isle of Wight.
The funding will contribute to the government ambition to make cycling and walking a natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of longer journeys by 2040, as set out in its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
All English transport authorities (outside London) were invited to bid for the funding in 2016, with the Isle of Wight Council successfully receiving a share of the £60 million Sustainable Travel Access Fund for 2017 to 2020. The new funding will mean a 1-year extension to the current programme.
Isle of Wight Council Leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, said:
“This is fantastic news to hear that we have been successful in our council bid for further funding for sustainable transport projects. It means we have now continuously received sustainable transport funding since the original Local Sustainable Transport Fund was announced in 2011, giving our active travel initiatives a firm footing.
“I’d like to thank Islanders for really embracing the active travel message and getting on board with the projects we are delivering with partners such as Wight Cycle Ltd and Visit Isle of Wight. It also shows recognition by the Department for Transport of our commitment to greener travel options and protecting our precious environment through reducing harmful carbon emissions.”
The money will support:
• the promotion of active and sustainable modes to journeys between home and school;
• continued engagement with Island businesses to promote alternatives to single occupancy private car journeys for commuting and business travel;
• the continuation of the Active Travel Innovation Grant to which Island organisations can apply for funding to deliver their own sustainable transport projects;
• increased focus on visitors and enabling sustainable transport options are available for them when visiting the Isle of Wight.
The funding will also continue to support jobseekers and apprentices with transport options which improve access to employment, training and skills, such as discounted bus travel and cycle loans. This will continue to be provided through the Connect2Work initiative.
Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, Councillor Ian Ward, said:
“We strongly welcome this announcement as it continues our programme of cycling, walking and green travel initiatives.
“These projects can remove barriers to work, help local communities and businesses and also tackle local transport problems by giving people attractive alternatives to car use. We look forward to working with our partner organisations to build on the hard work that has taken place so far.”
Nicola Rogers, Visitor Travel Project manager at Visit Isle of Wight, said:
“It’s great news, we really pleased that the DfT have recognised the work that we’re doing alongside the council to improve sustainable travel across the Island.
“So far the project has saved more than half a million car journeys across the Island. The new year of funding means we can keep that momentum going and encouraging visitors to consider car free trips.”
The current programme has already evidenced strong results. In its first 2 years the independent assessment has estimated the Transforming Travel programme has saved 502,000 car trips (353,000 car driver trips and 149,000 car passenger trips). This has saved an estimated 6,259,000 car km and the release of almost 1,130 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.