HRA & SEA of the Isle of Wight Highways PFI
Client: Isle of Wight Council
In August 2011, following on from our work on the Island Transport Plan, our team was appointed by Isle of Wight Council to carry out Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment for the Highway Private Finance Initiative.
Through an investment of £487million over 25 years, the PFI seeks to rehabilitate the Island’s roads, footways, street lighting and most other aspects linked to the Island’s highway network to reverse decades of historic underinvestment.
The project is a genuinely innovative example of strategic assessment in action. The assessments are being applied during the PFI procurement process to ensure that environmental considerations are locked-in from the outset. Bidders for the PFI contract will be supplied with data from the SEA Scoping Report so that their outline proposed solutions for the contract can take account of environmental opportunities and constraints from the early design phases. The way in which bidders propose to deal with such constraints will be assessed through the SEA framework, and any likely significant effects on internationally important nature conservation sites identified, so that the Council can proactively select the proposals with best environmental performance.
The assessments are planned to be iterative and interactive, allowing bidders for the contract to have access to the process and findings of assessments while maintaining commercial confidentiality. This ensures that proposals can be refined to improve environmental performance as designs progress, to increase the likelihood of a proposal being successful through the procurement procedure.
The assessments are expected to complete by summer 2012.