How green is our Council? Budding politicians ask the tough questions

Just how green is the Isle of Wight Council? That was the question posed by budding politicians from Barton Primary School’s school council on a visit to County Hall last week.

As well as meeting senior Cabinet members and the chairman of the council, the Newport school group attended a meeting of the Full Council — but not merely to observe.

They took public question time as an opportunity to quiz councillors on how the local authority is tackling climate change at a local level in light of the devastating bushfires in Australia.

Head boy Rory May-Cunningham, and head girl, Kaitlyn Large asked the question from the public gallery in the council chamber.

Council leader Dave Stewart was able to respond that the local authority had declared a climate emergency and was already playing its part in helping to reduce carbon emissions by increasing waste recycling and using green energy providers to power its buildings.

He said the council was also looking to buy more electric vehicles and encourage residents to follow suit with incentives such as free parking for zero-emission, electric cars and vans.

Year 3/4 teacher Margaret Young said: “The children found their visit very interesting and were excited to share their experience with other children.”

The school council is a democratically elected body of pupils who represent the voice of the children within the school. The representatives stand for a year and are led by the head boy and girl.

Over the years this has included raising funds for new climbing equipment, choosing the current school uniform and community projects such as buying fruit trees for the Church on the Roundabout.

The fascinating visit was organised by their local ward member, Councillor Geoff Brodie, who said: “I always try to work with Barton school council as I consider it important for children to engage with democracy at an early stage.

“This was a successful visit and I thank all involved in helping me with the arrangements.”