Island jobs hope following top level Government meeting
An Isle of Wight delegation has returned from a meeting with Energy Secretary Ed Miliband hopeful that Government aid could be on its way to help create local green jobs.
The delegation met Mr Miliband on Thursday afternoon to discuss how the Island can expand its renewable technologies industry. Included in the party were IW MP Andrew Turner, IW Council leader David Pugh and chief executive Steve Beynon and Labour councillor Geoff Lumley.
After the 45-minute meeting, Cllr Pugh said Mr Miliband had shown great interest in the Island’s desire and potential to develop its renewable energy sector.
In particular, he welcomed Mr Miliband’s interest in the council’s ambitions for the development of tidal energy technology in the Solent, with a view to tapping into the Marine Renewables Proving Fund, with government funding.
Mr Miliband offered to send Government experts to the Island to work with the local authority and the University of Southampton in exploring these opportunities further, building on work already undertaken by the university.
Cllr Pugh said: “There is clearly much work to be done but we were extremely encouraged by this response from Mr Miliband. It shows that Government sees great potential in this field and I am pleased we are positioning ourselves at the forefront of this technology.”
Mr Turner and Cllr David Pugh also outlined the opportunities for significant Island job creation through Rotawave technology, which is being led by Island firm Vikoma. Mr Miliband again offered to make government officers available to explore how this technology could be developed. The IW Council has committed to working with Rotawave to urgently identify a suitable location for such activity
Cllr Pugh said: “I think we all felt that Mr Miliband was genuinely interested in what we had to say and in the possibilities that exist on the Island. We are extremely pleased to have opened up this channel of communication that takes us right to the heart of Government. We will continue to use this relationship as effectively as we can to develop our green industry potential and to create much-needed jobs.”
Mr Turner said: “It was a constructive and useful meeting and it was helpful that Geoff Lumley was present. The Secretary of State was impressed that we are all prepared to work together for the good of the Island.
“He was also enthusiastic to hear about the innovative technology that Vikoma plan to introduce over the coming months. I am hopeful that with his support, more jobs can be created on the Island.”
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