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Ministers: 'Environmental time bomb report' is inaccurate

Ministers: 'Environmental time bomb report' is inaccurate

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Ministers: 'Environmental time bomb report' is inaccurate

Wednesday 25 January 2017

The States has dismissed a campaign group’s claims that Jersey is an “environmental ticking time bomb” as “alarmist.”

A report by Save Our Shorline Jersey (SOSJ) last week claimed that multiple warnings from the group – including about water being so polluted that oysters needed over 40 hours cleaning to be fit to eat – had been ignored by the Environment Department for many years.

But Minister for the Environment Steve Luce and Minister for Infrastructure Eddie Noel dismissed the accusations as “unduly alarmist” in a jointly-issued response.

While they acknowledged that there would be “challenges ahead”, the ministers remained firm that, “…Jersey is not at an environmental tipping point” and that the report had contained “inaccuracies.”


Pictured: The report released today by Save Our Shores Jersey, which was been submitted to the Environment, Infrastructure and Housing Panel last week.

“In our view, the SOSJ report often presents information in a selective fashion, which is out of context, not reflective of the wider data and not in the robust and scientific manner that is required by a public authority undertaking its public duty,” read the response.

According to the DoE and DfI, water quality has improved in recent years, with stream quality higher and pollution incidents and storm overspills having reduced.

Nitrate levels, which were a strong focus of SOSJ’s report following islander concerns over potentially toxic fume-emitting sea lettuce, were said to have actually fallen from a peak of 69mg per litre in 1994 to 46mg in 2015.

“The term used: ‘unhealthily and illegally high nitrate levels in drinking water’ sounds alarmist. In fact, Jersey Water comprehensively monitors all raw water supplies in streams and reservoirs and blends/manages water from differing sources to ensure the drinking water remains safe, and compliant with the Jersey (Water) Law 1971 as amended,” the response stated.


Pictured: A previous attempt to remove Ulva (sea lettuce) from the Island's beaches.

It continued: “The fact is that green seaweed exists in many parts of the world and we will never be able to eradicate it completely. What we must do is limit our contribution of nitrates in the bay and this work is already well underway.”

To achieve this, the Ministers claimed that local farmers were aiming to cut down their use of fertilisers, which can seep into the Island’s water supply, and were employing phosphate-free alternatives where possible.

In addition, a Scrutiny review on the issue will be held this week, while the Department for Infrastructure plan to apply for planning permission for a replacement Sewage Treatment Works to improve water entering St Aubin’s Bay.


Pictured: The current sewage plant at Bellozanne.

As a result, the response criticised SOSJ’s report for not, “…fully reflect[ing] the large amount of work and progress made by DoE, the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the States as a whole.

Fears over Jersey’s shellfish were claimed to be a “non-issue”, with SOSJ’s assertion that excessive bacteria had caused 80% mortality rates dismissed as, “…misleading and potentially damaging to our Island’s oyster industry.”

“The facts are that the mortality was due to an oyster disease that spread from France and it was not caused by bacteria.

“Public health measures referred to by SOSJ, such as oyster farms requiring filtration tanks are not special or the result of an Island problem, rather they are a recognised standard across Europe.”

Despite the various issues raised, the response assures Islanders that, “…Where genuine, robust evidence of a breach of a law or a regulation has been highlighted, officers from the Department of the Environment (DoE) have investigated appropriately, and in accordance with the law and their enforcement protocols.”

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Posted by david forde on
The said minister is being somewhat disengenuious! These problems have been going on for much longer than he tells you. Secondly there are NO really safe levels of Nitrates in water!
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