In News by Bembridge PC

he Isle of Wight Council has declared a climate emergency in an effort to tackle climate change on a local level.

At a meeting of the Full Council last night (Wednesday 24 July), councillors backed an amended motion for the authority to declare a climate emergency and aim for the Island to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The amended motion — agreed between Councillors Steve Hastings and Michael Lilley — laid out six actions the council should take to achieve this goal.

It included setting up a task and finish group to draw up a costed action plan and report back to the council’s Environment and Sustainability Forum within six months.

Councillor Hastings, who is also the council’s Cabinet member for waste services, said: “There is not much we can do on the global scale but what we can do is lead and encourage Island residents to do their bit to help and show the next generation the way forward.

“By declaring a climate emergency, perhaps the message will get through to everybody to think more of their actions on a daily basis.”

Councillor Lilley said: “I was thrilled the Isle of Wight Council declared a climate emergency through cross-party working.

“Whatever our beliefs, we are all Island residents that wish to live in harmony with our environment. We are now a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a local authority/county that has declared a climate emergency, we now need to act.”

The council is already playing its part in helping to reduce carbon emissions by:

• increasing waste recycling;
• building a new, environmentally efficient plant to convert waste into energy at Forest Road;
• using the most energy efficient heating and lighting systems whenever council buildings are refurbished;
• supporting free insulation of homes on the Island with the Warm Front initiative;
• looking to purchase electric vehicles; and
• supporting FYTBus in the West West in its endeavours to go completely electric with their fleet.

Councillor Hastings added: “There are many other local authorities that have declared a climate emergency so, through the Local Government Association (LGA), we can lobby for more help from government.

“The Environmental and Sustainability Forum will be the main mechanism by which we will draw experts, officers, members and residents together to progress actions to reduce our carbon footprint on the Island to make it a wonderful place to live, work and enjoy now and for generations to come.”

Council leader, Dave Stewart, added: “My personal views on the whole climate change debate have been well publicised and I have even expressed my views at the national LGA conference.

“As leader of the council, with the motion having been passed, it is my duty to ensure we meet the aspirations expressed at Full Council.”