Trust Makes Big Steps

Footprint Trust takes steps to save the planet

Isle of Wight charity the Footprint Trust, which started its work in 2003, estimates that it has now reached just over 13% of Islanders with its eco-message. This has been achieved through its attendance at events such as the Chale and County Shows, its work in schools and local communities. Its work in local schools has interacted with around 10,000 pupils and it has also carried out environmental audits in some 60 community buildings linked to energy and water saving measures. The charity’s fundamental aim is to reduce the ‘ecological footprint’ of the Isle of Wight, currently at around twice our ‘earthshare.’

The Trust also assisted hundreds of Island businesses to be more efficient in their use of resources and the Trust’s website is visited by over 36,000 people a year. They have given away over 4,000 low energy light bulbs, mostly to people on low income. The use of these bulbs alone will save over 550,000 Kw hours of electricity each year, and this represents a saving in financial terms of around £56,000 pa, and in carbon terms around 250 tonnes pa.

In water saving they helped to reduce consumption by around 14 million litres pa through distributing around 3,600 Southern Water save-a-flush bags. Neither figures take into account of other savings that charities and households may have made though turning off appliances or fitting cavity wall insulation, following guidance given from the Trust.

The Trust’s work has been funded through the European Union’s Leader+ initiative, the IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund, the National Lottery and commercial sponsorship.

Speaking for the Trust, its Company Secretary Colin Withers said,

“Our GreenLife and Waterworks projects have been raising awareness of energy and water saving issues. We are a very small charity which was set up to reduce the ecological footprint of the Isle of Wight and I believe that we are making good progress.”

“It is good to see the issue of Climate Change beginning to be taken seriously across the world, and the local ‘Action on Climate Change’ initiative, which we support, has already made some important steps leading to the IW Council signing up to the Nottingham Declaration and committing itself to reducing carbon emissions by 4% pa.”

Ray Harrington-Vail, the charity’s General Manager added…

“The current adverts on the TV encouraging us all to reduce our carbon footprint are imaginative and will assist in changing hearts and minds. Unfortunately people and businesses are also being led astray by dubious ‘off-setting’ schemes including tree planting, which will have virtually no impact in reducing carbon emissions.”

“In the immediate future we will continue to work with other local charities and the IW Council to look at fuel poverty and climate change. Inefficient use of energy wastes resources and money and in addition harms the planet, thus we wish to tackle these issues together.”

“We also wish to work with Parish and Town Councils in the rural areas, looking at ways that they can help their communities to become low carbon, and we hope to increase our work with young people aged 16 to 24 – engaging them in environmental projects”