The Government has allocated £2m from its reserves to kick-start a £40m programme to upgrade the island’s creaking network of drains, and create "sufficient capacity" for new homes to be built.
Although funding the recently published ‘Bridging Liquid Waste Strategy’ – which sets out a four-year programme of spending – is not due to be debated until the Government Plan vote in December, Treasury Minister Ian Gorst has used his powers under the public finances law to hand over extra money to the Infrastructure Department.
Justifying the early funding, the Government said: “In support of the Council of Ministers’ relentless focus on housing, funding has been made available in 2023 to ensure the rapid progression of key liquid waste projects to ensure that the network has sufficient capacity to support the delivery of new homes.
“This funding will allow initial feasibility and preparatory work to enable the department to support the Council of Ministers in delivering the Bridging Island Plan. It will also address existing network issues which will reduce the number of emergency call outs, improve operational efficiency, and prevent pollution.”
It is understood that the £1,963,100 will be spent on a project to separate foul and surface water at West Park, as well as start work to upgrade the sewerage network at pinch points which are holding up the development of affordable homes on fields identified in the Bridging Island Plan.
Sites in need of upgrades include rezoned fields in St. Peter, St. John, St. Martin, St. Ouen and Trinity.
Pictured: Plans to build 179 affordable homes in St. Peter are being put on hold after it emerged that the drains in the area cannot cope.
The Bridging Liquid Waste Strategy proposes £40m of ‘business as usual’ projects to maintain and upgrade the network to cope with an expected rising population.
It argues that the work is needed to avoid a “catastrophic failure” of the network.
The strategy is currently being reviewed by the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel. Chair Deputy Steve Luce he did not object to the early allocation of money because it was “a drop in the ocean” when compared to the total amount required.
Deputy Gorst has also handed over £2.8m of a £5m budget to Health that was extra money allocated to help reduce Hospital waiting times. The £5m pot is being held centrally by Treasury but the first tranche of funding has now been transferred.
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