Conference host Nishai Pillai, Chamber of Commerce’s Kevin Smith, Cllr Jonathan Bacon and speaker Chris Hines. Picture by Robin Crossley.
THE Isle of Wight could lead the world by going green and reducing its carbon footprint.
That was the message from Chris Hines, the keynote speaker at the Green on Wight conference staged by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce in Cowes on Wednesday.
Mr Hines, the former sustainability director at Cornwall’s Eden Project and founder and director of Surfers Against Sewage, told the County Press the Island could be a world-class centre for developing and manufacturing renewable energy sources such as wind and tidal power.
And he attacked the 'nimbyism’ of certain groups who were opposed to wind turbines being built on the Island.
He said: "I am a 'yimby’ I say 'yes’ in my backyard. I think every society has a responsibility to produce some of its own energy, if not all of its own energy.
"Why should someone else do it? If you want energy and produce waste and want your sewage treated, that is a collective responsibility of society."
He said to counter objections to wind and solar power, local communities had to get direct benefits from alternative energy sources.
Mr Hines said the Isle of Wight Council could also play its part in reducing the Island’s carbon footprint by turning off some street lights and new regulations could force builders to construct homes with very high levels of insulation.
Turning to tidal power, he said having academic institutions such as Southampton and Portsmouth universities close by meant the Isle of Wight could become a leader in developing tidal power.
Other speakers included the leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Cllr Jonathan Bacon, and Professor AbuBakar S Bahaj, Professor of Sustainable Energy at Southampton University.
Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Kevin Smith, said part of the aim of the conference was to re-energise the Eco-Island campaign.