KIRKLEES Council has received an award for its work in helping new drivers improve their skills.

The council was one of two to be awarded a certificate of merit by the Driving Standards Agency recently.

The certificate was given because of the council's Enhanced Pass Plus scheme, an extended version of the agency's own Pass Plus programme.

The Kirklees scheme gives new drivers practical lessons covering skills not dealt with extensively in lessons before drivers pass their test.

These include driving on motorways, driving at night and in bad weather.

The aim is to combat the fact that one in five new drivers will be in an accident within a year of passing the test.

The council subsidies its Enhanced Pass Plus scheme - halving the cost of lessons for new drivers in Kirklees.

They only have to pay £54 for eight hours of Enhanced Pass Plus tuition.

As well as running Enhanced Pass Plus, the council's highway safety team has created a new driver discussion group.

This educates new drivers on how attitudes and behaviour affect driving performance.

Kirklees Cabinet's member for the environment and transport, Clr Ann Denham, said she was delighted the scheme had been recognised.

She received the certificate of merit on behalf of the council from DSA chief executive Gary Austin in Nottingham.

She said: "The award highlights the need to help new drivers over those critical first 12 months of driving."

For further information on Enhanced Pass Plus, ring Ian Edwards on 01484 22 11 57 or email ian.edwards