Don’t Drill the Wight: Council candidates must think globally, but act locally

The Don’t Drill The Wight campaign have written to Isle of Wight council candidates setting out why they believe any applications to drill for oil on the Island should be rejected

ukog site looking east

Steve Davis shares this news on behalf of the Don’t Drill The Wight campaign. Ed


Don’t Drill The Wight is writing to all the declared candidates for the upcoming May Isle of Wight council elections.

The communication contrasts the urgent need to protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint with the commercial desire to tap into new sources of oil via drilling operations at a greenfield site west of Arreton. 

A crucial opportunity for a change of mindset
The elections this May provide a crucial opportunity for a change of mindset and priorities within our local government.

The Island’s environment is undoubtedly our key asset. Simultaneously attractive and fragile, it drives our tourist economy and supports our agriculture. It is vulnerable to the ravages of extreme weather, flooding, coastal erosion and unstable geology, giving rise to events that we encounter on an almost daily basis.

Net zero carbon goals by 2030
There is much to do, time is short and decisions taken in the next four years will be crucial in setting the pace of change and success or failure of meeting the Island’s net zero carbon goals by 2030.

The UK Committee on Climate Change recently reported that “Despite well-intentioned ambition the UK has fallen behind in progress to tackle and prepare for climate change”.

Think globally, but act locally
Here on the Island we have to think globally, but act locally. We must recognise the global threat and work effectively to deliver our share of solution.

Climate Change considerations must be at the heart of every department, every policy, every decision and every action that the council takes.  Anything less than total focus on this issue would be an abdication of responsibility.

This must never be treated as a box ticking exercise.

Carney: Cannot self-isolate from climate issue
Mark Carney – former head of the Bank of England now UN Envoy for Climate Change and Finance talking earlier this year:

“One of the biggest issues is you cannot self-isolate from climate.

“That is not an option. We cannot retreat in and wait out climate change, it will just get worse.”

Bevan: There is only one main thing – the climate emergency
In a speech earlier this year the head of the Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan made these stark points:

“There is only one main thing – the climate emergency. It is the main thing because it affects everything else, more than anything else.

“The climate emergency is the unseen pandemic, because left unchecked it will kill more people, and do much more harm, than Covid-19.

“That is why our thinking needs to change faster than the climate. And why our response needs to match the scale of the challenge.”

Reject plans for oil drilling
Number one on the Island’s environmental action list has to be to reject the application to drill for new sources of oil in our dwindling countryside.

We urge all candidates to engage with this topic and to recognise the strength of opposition from all sections of the Island community.  There are many valid reasons to reject the proposal, these are highlighted in the letter to candidates.

Sustainable green businesses
There are many areas in which the Island could really shine in developing sustainable green businesses, this has to be the way forward.

We call on all those hoping to be our elected representatives to take this issue seriously and pledge to work tirelessly for a better Island environment.

Wednesday, 14th April, 2021 8:56am

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Filed under: Green Issues, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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7 Comments on "Don’t Drill the Wight: Council candidates must think globally, but act locally"

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VentnorLad

In the urgent race to develop a renewable energy industry in the UK, it is hard to imagine a better test-ground than a sunny, windy, tidal island with an already developed renewable energy manufacturing base.

Looking to drag carbon out of the ground in such a place sends all kinds of wrong messages about local and national intent with regard to the climate emergency we all face.

Benny C
Spot on. If we must create more carbon building power infrastructure ( and we don’t have a choice) then let’s invest that embedded carbon in energy systems which have more beneficial upside in the long term. The messages a planning approval for Arreton would send will confuse everyone and vandalise the views and efforts of most sensible folk who want to know that the elected decision makers… Read more »
Spartacus

Its a dirty business for dirty money that benefits greedy landowners, investors and oil companies and no one else. It will ruin and pollute this Island. We have a right to fresh air, clean water and a safe environment if this go ahead it will be an environmental disaster.

Jon Idle
There are so many reasons to not allow this to go ahead. The difficulty is that the planning process is a very limited one following narrow criteria. So the planning committee must be shown why it IS their responsibility, and within their power, to vote this down. The AONB, the biosphere and the council’s declaration of climate emergency may not seem as central to the usual planning… Read more »
Benny C
Great point. If ever there was a moment when we want the Council to spend our money it’s now. They should buy the best planning advice available to counter the applicants team who are expert at theses arguments. Our planning officers should be supported in this specialist area, in order to deliver the outcome the Councils customers (us) overwhelmingly seek from their elected and executive officers. Let’s… Read more »
the auditor

Forgive me for being cynical, but when is the Planning Committee decision due? Could it possibly be after the May elections?

Benny C
The only reason to manipulate the system like that is if the decision is likely to be approval, surely. Those folk in the wards of the planning committee should seek and secure assurances from each committee member and call out any subsequent misbehaviour. I really don’t buy the argument that they keep their powder dry when it matters this much to so many people. If opposing candidates… Read more »