Paul Weatherall, MHK Candidate for Ayre & Michael on Climate Change – A Green New Deal

Our retiring government can be commended for declaring a ‘climate change emergency’ in 2019 and commissioning James Curran to produce his report, showing us the way forward. However, they have left the important decisions to those about to take over the reins.

If elected, I will be arguing for a target based approach in key areas, with targets set for 2025/26 to:

• Substantially reduce the % of homes heated by fossil fuels, by developing meaningful grant and loan schemes;

• Substantially increase the % of electric vehicles on the Island, with vehicle charging points located at all petrol stations, community facilities and parking areas;

• Establish solar farms to increase the % of renewable energy in the Island’s power generation mix;

• Commission an additional interconnector with the UK to plan for the transition from our gas-fired power station at Pulrose;

• Plant an additional 500,000 trees in community woodlands and within our towns and villages;

• Increased financial support to encourage our landowners to re-wild their least productive land.

Delivering homes free from fossil fuel heating systems and installing and maintaining renewable energy systems, will bring jobs to the Island. New skills may be needed and our University College must be at the forefront of delivering those skills, in partnership with local businesses. This will be the cornerstone of our ‘Green New Deal’. Action will be taken to reduce the Island’s carbon footprint and we must all play our part, but we must make sure that local jobs are created and local businesses flourish as a result; not relying on contractors from off-Island.

Liberal Vannin is a member of the Island’s Climate Change Coalition and if I am elected, I will work closely with other MHKs and MLCs who agree with its aims. I also recognise that climate change is not just about us. It is also a threat to our wildlife and bio-diversity. I will promote our Party’s pledge as a Biosphere Isle of Man Partner and support measures to strengthen the Wildlife Act.