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Comment: A green way forward

Comment: A green way forward

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Comment: A green way forward


When the new Council of Ministers recently announced its set of priorities for the coming term, there was a leafy green surprise lurking within.

Among the many priorities - focus on children, improving islanders' wellbeing, and helping the least well-off - looking after the environment also made the list.

But the surprise wasn't the fact that "protecting and valuing our environment" was also included, but more the fact that this was the first time a Council of Ministers had ever labelled it as a top priority.

This new dawn has been welcomed by local environmentalist and Express columnist Mike Stentiford, who is calling for more environmental innovation to ensure Jersey pioneers "a green way forward"... 

"After more than a few decades of hands-on involvement in all things wild and natural, the arrival of the Proposed Common Strategic Policy 2018-22 has come as a very welcome and timely document.

Video: The Environment Minister explains the Council of Ministers' new focus on the island's natural landscape.

Certainly by making prime reference to the natural environment through conservation and protection it exhibits a hopeful and meaningful target for future official green policy.

After all, as stated in the Strategic Proposal, the island’s biodiversity, quality of character and its diversity of landscape form the very basis of why so many of us value Jersey as our chosen home. It seems perfectly logical that, having accepted the true value of our natural environment, protecting, conserving and appreciating all that’s so obviously special about it should be collectively regarded as a natural given.

Encouragingly, the many documented actions striving to be achieved by the States of Jersey contain words such as, ‘improve, establish, produce and review’. While there’s no denying that each intended goal is noble in content, achieving them in the context of the natural environment is likely to be challenging. 

jersey_aerial.jpg

Pictured: "The island’s biodiversity, quality of character and its diversity of landscape form the very basis of why so many of us value Jersey as our chosen home."

And yet, overcoming such challenges in a very positive and visually public way would eventually be accepted as the very pinnacle of environmental success.

And where better to show such collective support for environmental ‘improvement’ than in the magnificent bay of St. Ouen? With its trio of western parishes containing more diversification of history, social activities and environmental credentials than any small island could possibly wish for, the boldest of statements can easily be made as to who we are and what we fervently support and believe in.

Such aspirations, of course, will require majority acceptance by the States of Jersey and supportive involvement by stakeholders and islanders alike.

Robbie_Dark_St_Ouens_Bay.jpg

Pictured: "Where better to show such collective support for environmental ‘improvement’ than in the magnificent bay of St. Ouen?" (Robbie Dark)

But, what might so easily be attained is a repeat of the robust statement of intent mimicking the remarkable environmental transformation of certain areas of St Ouen’s Bay some half a century ago. From desecration to pride and admiration, the visionary makeover of the landward side of this tremendously popular area of coastline proved a premier stand-out environmental achievement by the States authorities.

With the arrival of this policy document, there could hardly be a more opportune time for another suchlike brave and visionary act of environmental innovation.
There will, of course, be scores of other opportunities for sustainable island-wide environmental improvements although the suggestion of embracing, and more importantly achieving, one major proposition as ‘a starter for ten’ might show that, when considering its environmental intentions, the proposed Strategic Policy really does mean what it says on the tin."

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and not of Bailiwick Express.

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