Wightlink has launched its ambitious Green Agenda to Isle of Wight community stakeholders at a meeting at its Fishbourne terminal.
Chief Executive Keith Greenfield outlined the ferry company’s strategy to look after the Solent and its coastline, then hosted a round-trip to Portsmouth for guests on board Wightlink’s £30million hybrid energy flagship Victoria of Wight.
He was supported by Wightlink’s Environmental Officer Nicola Craig and Head of Retail Simon Lewis who explained how green initiatives are being introduced across the routes. They include increasing recycling, replacing plastic cutlery with sustainable wooden alternatives, reducing food miles by buying from Island suppliers, cutting emissions and providing electric vehicle charging points at ports.
In the audience at the launch were representatives of Isle of Wight Council, Fishbourne Parish Council, local schools and Island businesses. Ten were members of Visit Wight’s Green Star scheme to acknowledge and reward companies and organisations that promote sustainable transport. Wightlink has been awarded a Gold Star by Visit Wight for its achievements so far.
“We care about the environment and will do our best to protect the sea, land and air that surround us.
“We will always consider environmental factors as we operate our ships and ports and when we make business decisions. We will continually look for new ways to reduce our environmental footprint.”
Wightlink’s Green Agenda is centred around initiatives to benefit the sea, land and air and includes challenging targets.
- SEA: Wightlink aims to have clean water in its ports with thriving marine life by inspecting quays and shores every day and removing any rubbish.
- LAND: Wightlink aims to recycle 50% of waste by the end of 2020.
- AIR: Wightlink aims to reduce ship and vehicle emissions by 5% by the end of 2020
A dedicated webpage on Wightlink’s website covers progress on all the initiatives and will be regularly updated – www.wightlink.co.uk/green
During the launch, environmental partners Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Artecology outlined how they are working with Wightlink on projects to educate people about the Solent and its marine wildlife including the innovative Vertipools (artificial rockpools) at Fishbourne port. Final Straw Solent loaned Wightlink its giant metal fish that encourages people to recycle plastic bottles and metal cans and it was located at Fishbourne over the weekend.
Commercial Manager of Isle of Wight Steam Railway Richard Hale says:
“It was useful to learn about Wightlink’s Green Agenda and find out what Wightlink is doing with its partners to support the environment. I enjoyed seeing the Vertipools for myself and we were told that more than 30 species of marine creatures are now setting up home inside them.”
Nigel George, co-founder of Artecology, adds:
“This was a tremendous opportunity to talk to people who might not have heard of us and what we are doing to enhance biodiversity by making places better for wildlife.”
The launch was followed by a round-trip on Wightlink’s new hybrid energy flagship Victoria of Wight when guests visited the Bridge to meet Captain Matt Mullins and learn how the new ferry uses 17% less fuel than the rest of the fleet by combining power from conventional engines and powerful batteries. Less fuel means fewer emissions.
During the sailings, Marine Champion volunteers from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust presented a Ferry Safari to guests and customers on board Victoria of Wight. The interactive sessions are part of their Secrets of the Solent campaign, financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Trust Community Engagement Officer Emily Stroud says:
“Our onboard campaign is aimed at increased awareness of marine life below the waves, including in the Solent’s protected sea grass beds. Our volunteers enjoy spending time on the ferries talking to Wightlink’s customers and, up to now, we have spoken to more than 600 people.”
Keith Greenfield says:
“We were delighted that community representatives who came to the launch were interested in our Green Agenda and its initiatives and we will hold similar events in future.”
For more information visit www.wightlink.co.uk/green.