The Solent’s three unitary councils, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton, are calling on Hampshire County Council not to leave Solent Transport.

The move follows Hampshire County Council publishing a paper recommending the authority leaves the partnership which focuses on integrated transport solutions across south Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, and Southampton.

Solent Transport is a partnership of local authorities that provides leadership, strategy and direction to deliver transport improvements across south Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and improve the movement of people and goods across the sub-region. Its work supports the sustainable development of the Solent area, making it greener, healthier, and more prosperous, and includes successful joint funding bids worth more than £150M in the last decade such as the Solent Future Transport Zone, which has funded projects covering a range of transport initiatives, from Breeze, the UK’s largest transport journey planning and ticketing app, to the rollout of rental bikes and e-scooters and researching the use of drones to deliver time-sensitive medical supplies for the NHS.

Current members of Solent Transport are Hampshire County Council and the three unitary councils of the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, and Southampton. A decision on whether Hampshire County Council will continue within Solent Transport will be taken at a meeting on Thursday 27 June.

A spokesperson from the unitary councils of Solent Transport, said: “We are disappointed with the recommendation for Hampshire County Council to leave the long-established and successful Solent Transport Partnership and hope the county decides to continue to be part of our important work.

As local authorities, we know that we can achieve more for our residents and businesses when we work together with each other, especially on transport related issues which don’t recognise council boundaries. While we understand the financial challenges involved, we also recognise the economic significance of the partnership for our residents and businesses in the Solent region. The partnership plays a pivotal role in improving transport across the Solent, evidenced by the ongoing delivery of the award-winning Solent Future Transport Zone, and has been instrumental in securing more than £150M of vital funding over the past decade.

Whatever happens Solent Transport will continue with the participation of Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council, allowing us to continue our strategic initiatives across the Solent region. We will review how best to work with neighbouring authorities, including Hampshire and the district and borough councils who are essential in ensuring our Solent communities and those passing through our areas, do so with ease. We are committed to working together as the best way to address the unique needs of the Solent region and to get the best results for all of our residents and it would be disappointing if people living in the Hampshire County Council area no longer benefit from this work.