With all the bad news going around, I like, when I can, to bring some good news to Islanders.

And the good news this month is that the Isle of Wight is leading not only the UK but also Europe in advanced recycling.

Our new waste facility in Forest Road is a remarkable hive of activity and ultra-modern equipment, which not only recycles almost 100 per cent of our waste, but also generates enough electricity for 6,000 homes – roughly three quarters of Newport.

I want to thank not only the 170 folks who work there, almost all Islanders with a few Spanish colleagues from contractor Thalia (Hola! Gracias!) but especially to Natasha Dix, whose decade-long leadership of the project, with the backing of councillors from all parties on the Island, has turned this from a dream to reality.

We should be grateful that we have such talented and capable officers in our council. Before Natasha’s brilliant scheme became real, we chucked almost half our household waste into landfill - basically giant holes in the ground. 

There’ll be school trips to Forest Road soon and I thoroughly recommend a visit. It’s a fascinating place (if at times a bit smelly!), complete with giant tumble dryers, X-rays, giant shredders, giant magnets and infra-red lights to spot and separate different types of rubbish.

In all, the site copes with all 120,000 tonnes of household waste and turns it into not only electricity but (soon) also heat.

That’s the next step, to get funding from the Government to develop a first-in-the-UK scheme to supply steam from the plant to the hospital and prison (and even new homes in the area) so that it can make even better use of the energy it creates.

This will turn almost all our household rubbish into electricity and heat – truly that is recycling. Yet again, the Isle of Wight will be pioneering technology that the rest of the country will, in time, adopt. 

I am contacting ministers now to get the funding to make the heat transfer scheme happen.

Finally, the Island’s pioneering recycling has raised standards, not only for the Council’s rubbish collection - and thank you to our bin men and women, their collection rates are amongst the best in the country - but also for the other waste contractors on the Island.

I will be working with the Environment Agency to make sure that waste contractors - and Island businesses - ensure that rubbish is properly processed.

But this is a good news story where the Island – again – is leading the way.

Have a good weekend.

* An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said the plant is currently undergoing rigorous testing but producing energy as the commission tests are worked through. The final test certification is expected to be achieved in the summer.