LETTERSFrom Tanja Rebel, Cowes:
TUESDAY, May 15, saw a very successful protest meeting in East-Cowes regarding the proposed asphalt plant along the Medina. It was one of several concurrent meetings on the same topic and I am sure people who attended the other meetings are as incensed about these ludicrous plans as the people of East Cowes.
The plans for an asphalt plant are closely linked to the proposed PFI highways deal, threatening to bind the island to a 25-year commitment which, in today’s financial climate, will mean a considerable risk take.
Moreover, the environmental crisis we find ourselves in will lead to substantial changes in transport modes and links within the next decades, so this PFI is already obsolete from start. The PFI deal is now under negotiation, but (if we live in a democracy at all) it is not a done deal yet.
Therefore, if we are to stop the plans for an asphalt plant, we need to focus on one of its root causes, namely the tendency of this current council to use taxpayers’ money for economically and ecologically non-viable projects, such as the PFI.
Another root cause is the grand vision to re-industrialise the river Medina to the detriment of the environment. Plans for a huge industrial-sized biomass plant along Stag Lane form part of this "vision". This plant would get all its wood from abroad — leading to a considerable carbon footprint — as well as emit microscopic particles which will affect local flora and fauna as well as people’s lungs.
The plans to develop the river area can be found in the Core Strategy Plan, where it is also suggested houses are built all the way up to Arctic Road. Thus, if we oppose the plant, which most people with common sense do, we need to again look at the bigger picture and try to save the whole river area from the current destructive plans, including the threat that is now being levelled at Newport Harbour.
This has for centuries been a working harbour, but the council now wants to transform it into some form of tourism Mecca, with no regard for people working there or the environmental benefits of having goods transported over water.
All these ludicrous large-scale, environmentally destructive plans belong to old-paradigm thinking where short-term financial gain is put before anything else, nowadays often under a so-called green disguise.
It is time to challenge this obsolete way of thinking by moving into a new paradigm where planet and people are put before profits.
Anyone questioning the viability of this thinking needs to realise that it is possible to develop small-scale, genuinely eco-friendly, humane businesses which generate jobs while at the same time being soft to the earth. We just need to get our priorities right.