NEXT steps for the beleaguered Floating Bridge 6 are set to be rubber stamped at tonight's meeting of the Isle of Wight Council cabinet.

A recent report provided an update on the floating bridge and the ongoing legal case surrounding it.

Tonight, a paper will set out the case for commissioning an independent review to determine whether the vessel is fit for purpose, in relation to the original specification and operating requirements.

The unreliable vessel is currently out of service and not set to return for a few more weeks 

The local authority says the study has been requested by the main funding partner for Floating Bridge 6, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (SLEP), and will be completed by November, 2021.

The report will help inform future decisions including, if appropriate, a list of further actions required to be taken to the current vessel or the production of a suitable business case for any replacement.

The paper confirms that the council is involved in a legal action against both the naval architects and the boat builders to seek recompense for the poor performance of the vessel and other associated costs.

An agreement has been reached between the three parties to seek to settle the dispute through mediation to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings.

It is intended to complete the process by the end of the year.

Cabinet members are being asked to note the contents of the paper and approve the production of a further report to be presented to councillors early next year with further options.

Cllr Phil Jordan, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said last week the council has 'no choice' but to carry out the independent report and conclude the mediation process before any final decision can be made about the future of the chain ferry.