Green Party MEP visits Isle of Wight to support local anti-drilling campaign

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, is on the Isle of Wight today to campaign against ‘climate-destructive’ oil drilling on the Island.

Mr Taylor, a vocal anti-fracking and oil and gas drilling campaigner, met local residents at a proposed drilling site at Brook Beach alongside local campaigner and councillor Daniel James before hosting a public meeting on the alternatives to oil and gas drilling and the importance of renewable energy investment on the Isle of Wight.

The Conservative and Lib Dems in coalition awarded a number of licences for both the offshore and onshore extraction of oil and gas from an area covering 200sq kms of the Isle of Wight. The licences have subsequently been renewed with campaigners anticipating planning applications will be made to the Isle of Wight Council this year for the 30-year production of oil and gas at several of these sites.

Mr Taylor has been prompted to make today’s trip after being contacted by several constituents who raised concerns about the negative effects oil drilling will have on their environment and communities. Michael French was just one of those concerned residents who met the senior Green politician at the proposed Compton Bay drill site to discuss his worries about the threat oil drilling poses to his drinking water supply.

Following the visit, Keith will convened a public meeting at a packed Wilberforce Hall, on North Street, Brighstone, to listen to people’s concerns about oil and gas drilling and relay his experiences of fighting against similar proposals across the South East of England. The Green MEP outlined the renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels and highlighted the Island’s potential as a “renewables industry leader”.

Keith was joined by local councillor Daniel James, who offered a grassroots perspective on the fight to protect the Isle of Wight from oil and gas drilling, and the Sussex anti-drilling campaigner Emily Mott, who as part of the campaign group Markwells Wood Watch is protecting the South Downs National Park from oil and gas drilling.

Keith Taylor MEP will, this afternoon, travel to the Gaslight Cafe in Sandown to attend an anti-fracking and oil and gas drilling information session hosted by the local campaign group Frack Free Isle of Wight. The Green MEP will be debriefed by campaigners on the latest news on the campaign to keep the Island free from fracking, acidisation and oil and gas extraction.

Speaking about the prospect of conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction coming to the Isle of Wight, Keith Taylor MEP, the European Chair of the Climate Parliament and a member of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, said during his visit:

“I’m very pleased to be here today to offer my solidarity to the residents and dedicated local campaigners, like Daniel James, who are fighting doggedly against an oil and gas industry in bed with a Conservative Government that cares neither for the beauty of this precious Island nor the urgent reality of climate change. The further exploitation of oil and gas resources either by conventional or unconventional means is a form of dangerous climate denial, especially when the Isle of Wight has the capacity to be a world-leader in renewable energy production.”

“In just the last week we’ve seen two reports from scientists at NASA and academics at the University of Manchester reveal that not only is the oil and gas industry one of the least sustainable it is also the most responsible for the accelerating global emissions of climate-destructive methane. Methane is more than 80 times more damaging to our climate than CO2 emissions. At the same time, the UK Government’s own Climate Change Committee concluded that unless immediate action was taken Britain will fail to meet its legally-binding climate agreements by a huge margin.”

“Locally and nationally Greens are supporting grassroots campaigners and leading the charge against a Government, and its subordinate local authorities, intent on fast-tracking fracking and the industrialisation of our countryside. The Isle of Wight Green Party in cooperation with local residents and Frack Free Isle of Wight campaigners will always work to put people and planet before the profits of oil and gas tycoons.”