'DAVID can overcome Goliath' — that was the message from campaigners celebrating a 'massive victory' after exploratory oil drilling was refused on the Island.

The Isle of Wight Council's planning committee unanimously voted to reject UK Oil and Gas's plans for the construction, operation and decommissioning of two boreholes in Arreton.

Committee members were not willing to risk the Island's biosphere status or tourist economy.

After almost seven years of campaigning, Don't Drill The Wight (DDTW) thanked members of the group and those who helped them be heard.

Sylvia May, of DDTW, who spoke at last night's (Tuesday) meeting, said the committee members were the stars of the show.

She said: "My personal thanks to each and every one for doing what is so obviously right for our Island. This may not be the end of the line but it is a massive victory.

"Our efforts over the past two years have been intensive but it proves David can overcome Goliath.

"I want to thank all the parish councils, Islanders and visitors who submitted over 3,400 objections, including one from MP Bob Seely, and those who signed our petition.

"A special thanks to our hard-working committee, members and subscribers. We could not have done this without you"

Welcoming the win, Isle of Wight Green Party spokesperson Vix Lowthion said this was what teamwork could achieve, through groups including DDTW, Blue Seas Protection and Extinction Rebellion, campaigning, informing and mobilising thousands of Islanders to engage with the planning process.

She said: "It was so encouraging to see the proposal unanimously rejected by all councillors, regardless of political persuasion. Maybe, just like our Prime Minister, they have now realised that they are all green at heart.

"However, this fight was only necessary because of the Conservative government’s overwhelming support for the fossil fuel industry.

"Last year they awarded £10.5 billion in subsidies and incentives for fossil fuels, which was the highest amount in Europe.

"The next steps for our political leaders must be to ban all new fossil fuel exploitation in the UK.

"If they are serious about tackling the climate crisis, then they must invest in clean, renewable energy and leave the fossil fuels in the ground."