The Isle of Wight Society

February 2021

In 1992 the first United Nations conference was held in Rio de Janeiro highlighting Climate Change and searching for ways to mitigate our CO2 emissions.  That was 29 years ago, and compared to the problem, little has been done.

Think of a bath with the plug in filling up with water.  Even if you reduce the flow the bath will eventually overfill.  This is what is happening with our carbon emissions.    We must turn off the tap, by stopping emissions entirely. We must find a way to pull the plug out, as it takes centuries to reabsorb the CO2. 

Large scale new housing developments are planned for the Island, such as the Pennyfeathers development at Ryde with over 900 units of accommodation.   This development, currently seeking  Reserved Matters approval following their 2015 Outline Planning Permission, offers an opportunity to show just what could be done using all the latest technology.  So far the Government has brought in some legislation on insulation.

By 2025 Government legislation for new houses will be introduced banning the use of gas space heating.  So it is against national aspirations that a developer plans to build a gas fired energy centre in Ryde.  This new housing development  should therefore introduce ground or air source heat pumps for space heating.  

Solar water heating even in winter.

The sunny Isle of Wight offers opportunities to use Solar Power.  Water heating is one way solar heat can be used.  It is very efficient, and for half the year a house can rely on it entirely.  Even on cloudy days there is still sufficient heat from the sun to keep the water tank heated sufficiently to need only a brief top up of electric power.  Every house in the new development should have its own solar water heating panels.

The remaining suitable roof space can be used for electricity generation, feeding straight into the National Grid.  Use our abundant Island sunshine and stop using fossil fuels.

Then consider water.  The Ryde development elaborates on their channelling of run off rain water into attenuation tanks, then feeding these gradually into Monkton Brook to avoid flooding.  

The developer should be working from the other angle.  They should design the houses to catch all the rainwater and use it for household tasks that do not require drinking water quality.  This should not be confined to one downpipe from a gutter feeding into to a water butt to water the proposed small house gardens.  

Instead, the developer should build in very large reservoirs to collect as much rainwater as possible from the roofs.  This can then be used in a grey water system.  Far too much of our precious drinking water is flushed down the toilet, even by environmentally friendly cisterns.  Rainwater is wonderful for showers, too.  

Southern Water would applaud this system, as already they fear they cannot provide us with sufficient water to meet future housing expansion on the Island.   

Our Island should lead in sustainability. 

Sarah Burdett

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Isle of Wight Society
East Cowes Heritage Centre, 8 Clarence Road
East Cowes, PO32 6EP

Tel: +44 (0) 1983 280310

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