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‘Eco-mafia’ face ‘middle-aged mafia’ in States

‘Eco-mafia’ face ‘middle-aged mafia’ in States

Thursday 19 November 2020

‘Eco-mafia’ face ‘middle-aged mafia’ in States


The “eco-mafia” faced off against the “white middle-aged-man mafia” in the States Assembly yesterday during a debate about the island’s commitment to carbon neutrality.

Politicians were debating a proposal by Deputy Jess Perchard, which suggested policy positions that ministers, and members of a Citizens’ Assembly - established as part of the Island’s already-approved Carbon Neutral Strategy - might want to discuss before any concrete policies are established.

She asked that such policy scenarios, which the Citizens’ Assembly will be presented with after its formation early next year, should include measures to disincentivise non-commercial and non-essential car travel, disincentivise the ownership of several cars within a single household;  incentivise the use of public transport and non-motorised travel; and incentivise one-car or no-car ownership in each household.

In the end, States Members backed her proposal by 39 votes to 4, but not before Members had decided to debate the merits of each policy position, rather than the merits of presenting them as discussion points.

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Pictured: Deputy Jess Perchard‘s backbench proposition was successful.

This led to accusations flying across the virtual house.

Assistant Treasury Minister Lindsay Ash said: “I would like to say, because someone has to say it and most are too afraid, we are in danger of being run by an eco-mafia. 

“You cannot just push through everything on this eco-agenda, and I think it is someone we should be very wary of, especially when it comes to income inequality, because a lot of the eco-agenda is going to hit those in the more income-challenged sectors of society. 

“I think that is something that everyone needs to bear in mind.”

However, the St. Clement Deputy then said he would support Deputy Perchard’s proposition.

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Pictured: Politicians ended up discussing their own car ownership and transport habits.

Although also backing it, St. Helier's Deputy Rob Ward took umbrage at Deputy Ash’s assessment.

“This notion of an eco-mafia is just a ridiculous idea,” he said. “In fact, what we have here is a white middle-aged-man mafia who wants to be in denial about the reality of what is happening in the world and what is faced by younger generations.

“It is about time you woke up, did your research and got some understanding of the real world.”

Referring to the ‘one car per household’ idea included in Deputy Perchard’s discussion points, some politicians raised objections because some islanders enjoyed collecting cars. 

St. John Constable Chris Taylor said that he owned two classic cars, while Environment Minister Deputy John Young said that he owned three old Land Rovers, although he conceded that he would be prepared to give them up if any Carbon Neutral Strategy meant that he was no longer allowed to own them.

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Pictured: The Environment Minister said he'd be prepared to give up his old Land Rovers.

The backbench proposal by Deputy Perchard was always likely to succeed after she accepted an amendment by the Infrastructure Minister to tweak some of the words around her wish that future policies around parking must take account of their potential to increase income inequality.

Although the Government’s two main strategies to fight global warming - the Sustainable Transport Policy and the Carbon Neutral Strategy - have been delayed by the covid pandemic, both Deputy Young and Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis told the Assembly that previously redeployed officers were now fully committed to them. 

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Posted by Peter Richardson on
I clearly remember when a student at Victoria College that hundreds of chaps arrived on their bicycles and the sheds to house them were choker block. Yes that was the 1970’s when we didn’t care about the environment and Jersey had far more trees. As for one car per household, its not how many cars you have its how much you use them in short journeys and high density traffic, such as driving your children to school that matters. In these situations the average mpg of the favourite 4x4 is about 15mpg.
Posted by MarkRenouf53 on
I agree Peter - I usually try to cycle in daily and I would like my kids to do the same but we need (1) safe cycle routes/crossings for the kids, they can't be sharing roads with cars, there is too much traffic now - its not so difficult to achieve as you think as there are so many secondary roads in Jersey; and (2) for adults we need lock away/watertight bike stores under the car parks (a flat pack container would take 8-10 bikes) plus shower facilities and lockers...because legislation stops employers fitting a shower in lost of old commercial premises now as disabled access regs require it to comply if you add one. When I asked if we could rent a space in a public car park for a flat pack container for our staff I got nowhere despite it being nil cost to the States, but after a while you give up trying to push water up hill. Maybe one day !
Posted by An Advocate on
White middle aged men, the last remaining, sanctioned, silenced minority.

...Ok Boomer.
Posted by Scott Mills on
Yup, make all kids from age of 11 ride to school, or take a bus. All these tractors which take them from bed to desk are completely unnecessary on an island like this, you only have to look at the traffic during the holidays to realise this. I'd be more interested in the states sorting out how polluted our water is, compared to a very low level of air pollution (remember we don't have many manfucturing or other plant producing), apart from the incinerator, which we were told it's very kind to the environment?
Posted by John Roberts on
Regarding the proposal to limit car ownership to one per household this has often been proposed as a way of reducing pollution and traffic. However I have yet to see any discussion of whether it would in practice achieve these aims. It seems to me that one household sharing one car will often result in more cars being on the road at any time when that car is being used to transport different members of the family to separate designations. I can see that such a restriction might theoretically encourage greater use of public transport but wouldn’t hold my breath on that.
Posted by PaulLister37 on
Isn't it a shame that the politicians quoted in the article feel that their first response to this issue is to share with others how it may affect them. This is the most revealing part of this story.

History will show how blind we have been to the ownership of the motorcar and the polluting internal combustion engine. Cars have dictated our landscape, they are the reason why many people enter into large debt (aside from their mortgage payments if they are fortunate enough to be able to buy), they clog roadsides and blight horizons with multistory car parks. Then there are the links to adverse breathing conditions and climate change due to the pollution.

It's not difficult to see why the UK government is banning the sale of new petrol and diesel engines in 10 yrs time. Significant Jersey Government investment in shared electric vehicles is the only sensible way forward. It's something we've never experienced before, and with that comes the uncertainty of change. But like Henry Ford famously said before his mass production of cars hit the streets, “Ask people what they want, and they’ll just say they want a faster horse”.
Posted by Alex Fearn on
With respect I hear no solutions. Would the thing to do not be to deal with the 'elephant in the room' ? Please give us an alternative to road use. Please give us a rail or tram system.
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