Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Reductions in IW ferry services lead to two government announcements

2 min read

The leader of the Isle of Wight Council and the chairman of the Isle of Wight Transport Infrastructure Board have welcomed an announcement made yesterday that the epartment for Transport will provide funding of £1.5 million per month for April to June to assist the cross-Solent ferry operators.

Council leader, Councillor Dave Stewart, said: “The ferry operators serving the Island have made enormous efforts to ensure lifeline services are maintained during these very difficult times – and I am very pleased to see that the government has recognised this through crucial financial support.

“I would also like to remind people of the message that all travel should only be for essential journeys unless for work if you can’t stay at home.”

Transport infrastructure board chairman, Christopher Garnett, said: “This funding will be provided to the council to allocate to Red Funnel, Wightlink and Hovertravel – and is based around the latest revised timetable of services announced recently.

“It will serve to further support and underpin the maintenance of effective and robust services to the Island at this critical and challenging time. It also recognises the enormous efforts the ferry operators, their management teams and staffs have made during these past few weeks – both in continuing to provide services and in working tirelessly and very closely for the benefit of Island residents and businesses.”

The government has also announced that the launch of trials to ship medical supplies to the Island by drone will be fast-tracked becuase of the massive reduction in ferry services. The trial, the first of its kind in the UK, will involve a double-engine, fixed-winged aircraft drone with a carrying capacity of up to 220lb.  The load will be carried in a space the size of an estate car boot and the craft can fly more than 620 miles.