Councillor Michael Lilley is putting forward an amendment to the Conservative’s budget proposal to establish a £1million Isle of Wight Parish and Town Councils’ Green Deal Infrastructure and Working Together Investment Fund.
This proposed fund is to provide 50% match funding to enable Parish and Town Councils to leverage in further investment to develop local environmental projects across the Island.
This active engagement of Town and Parish Council’s in this way supports evidence by Friends of Earth that the Isle of Wight is the second-best performing local authority area regarding climate change and now with UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Status, will increase Island’s environmental innovation profile to the wider investment world.
The amendment will be put forward at the Council’s budget meeting on 26th February.
Cllr Lilley, the Mayor of Ryde, says:
“My idea is that this fund would enable Parish and Town Councils across the Island to amalgamate resources to develop an economy of scale to meet Biosphere and Climate Emergency commitments already signed up the Isle of Wight Council. This would attract funding from a range of national and international sources of Green/Environmental funds. Each IWC Green £ could double or triple.
“The fund will help Parish and Town Councils to support a range of local initiatives such as tree planting, solar energy farms, reducing local fuel poverty, ecological job creation initiatives and develop green tourism. This will not only tackle climate change but create high-skilled and well-paid jobs for Islanders”.
2019 was a major green year for the Isle of Wight with obtaining UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Status and Isle of Wight Council supporting Cllr Lilley and Cllr Steve Hastings’ motion on declaring a climate emergency. The Council is now finalising a Climate Change and Environment Strategy.
A key target for the Isle of Wight Council is to engage with Town and Parish councils to enable them to develop new zero emissions plans for 2030 for services delivered by them and residents and businesses in their local areas. Ryde Town Council has recently approved a Ryde Place Plan which incorporates the principals of the Biosphere. Already RTC gives an annual grant to local charity Footprint Trust to tackle fuel poverty and funds another charity, Natural Enterprise (Gift of Nature) to manage nature reserves in the heart of Ryde.
Cllr Lilley adds:
“My purpose of further highlighting the green vision through this amendment was to showcase and celebrate what IW Council is already doing within its Climate Emergency Strategy especially in regard to Town and Parish Councils. My proposed amendment is building on this wonderful commitment by seeking to accelerate action at local level.
“Climate change has to grow naturally from the grass-roots of our many diverse local communities. It is about Oak trees growing from little acorns. By IW Council being brave and moving £1M from reserves into a local green investment fund will enable local projects and initiatives to grow quicker and respond to the ever-increasing effects of climate change that is all around us.
“The local success story of Wight Community Energy provides evidence that IW Council’s investment has not only been safe, provided a good return, but it also provided leverage for off-island investment to expand it further. At a time of post-Brexit, inward investment is critical and this investment into our natural unique environment not only sends a message to the World that IW is a beacon for environmental investment it sends a message to our children and their children that we are investing in their future.”