Green transport and tourism has received a multi-million pound boost with the news the Isle of Wight Council has successfully bid for nearly £4 million of government grant.
30 carbon cutting, growth boosting local transport schemes, totalling £18.5 million were given the green light today by Transport Minister Norman Baker. The Isle of Wight was among the 30 successful bids. All projects are designed to create a sustainable transport package that delivers economic growth.
Norman Baker said:
“The schemes we are funding will benefit those living in the South East by cutting carbon emissions, reducing congestion and stimulating economic growth in the area.
“By investing in these schemes we are signalling our commitment to green growth which will help to kick-start economic activity in the region while improving access to healthier forms of transport and addressing the problem of climate change.”
The cash for the Isle of Wight will be used in a number of areas including providing integrated transport hubs at the Island’s five main tourism towns, upgrading significant parts of the Island cyclepath and footpath network and providing real time travel information at ferry terminals and train and bus stops using mobile technology.
With the aim of establishing the Island as a leading green tourism destination, the money will also be used to establish cycle hire and docking stations, new cycle shelters and racks, circular walking and cycling routes and increased access for people with mobility issues. This will be accompanied by a targeted marketing campaign to promote the Island’s sustainable transport opportunities and encourage visitors to travel to the Island car free.
Councillor Edward Giles, Isle of Wight Council cabinet member responsible for transport said: “This is fantastic news which I am sure will be welcomed by anyone who uses public transport.
“What is particularly pleasing about attracting this money is that it will benefit two areas that are of particular importance to the council and to residents: tourism and the green economy.
“It is a massive amount of money that will enable us to further enhance our reputation as a green Island and tourist destination. The timing of this is also very apt when as it coincides with the end of the Island’s walking festival and when we are also about to announce a major milestone in the Highways PFI.
“The amount of work this money will finance will make a real difference to our transport and tourism infrastructure in pretty much every Island community.”
The council’s successful bid was called Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism and asked for £3.95m from the Department for Transport (DfT). While making it easier for visitors to use public transport on the Island, the bid will also provide benefits to residents who use public transport or who use Island footpaths and cycleways. A key part of the scheme will be work to fill in key ‘missing’ network links, creating new paths and upgrading the existing cycling and walking infrastructure.
Stuart Love, Isle of Wight Council director of economy and the environment, said: “Not only was this bid successful, it was also highlighted by the DfT as one of the most innovative. I am delighted the council has successfully attracted such significant funds that bring very real benefits to the Island.
“Local suppliers and contractors will be used where possible in order to further boost the local economy. This success really complements our Eco Island aims in a most tangible way.”
The full bid can be accessed via the following;
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