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Chris Perkins, Action for Wildlife: Five things I would change about Jersey

Chris Perkins, Action for Wildlife: Five things I would change about Jersey

Friday 23 April 2021

Chris Perkins, Action for Wildlife: Five things I would change about Jersey


Population limits, cutting car use and having fewer, higher paid politicians are just a few of the ways this environmental campaigner would improve the island to protect its natural wildlife.

Jersey-born and raised Chris Perkins is currently the Chair of Action for Wildlife Jersey and Natural Jersey – but his passion for protecting the island’s environment stretches back much further.

He obtained an MSc for research on local lizard populations in the 1980s,and was a founding member of the Jersey Reptile and Amphibian Group and Branchage Group.

He was also a member of the Ramsar Steering Committee, and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. 

Most recently, he has been calling for greater protection for Jersey’s territorial waters, which happens to be the first of the five things he shared with Express that he would change about Jersey…

1. Create a marine conservation park

Our territorial waters should be regarded as the valuable and irreplaceable ecosystem that they are, and not as an ‘out of sight, out mind’ area to be damaged and overexploited.

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Pictured: Chris's first priority would be to designate Jersey a 'marine conservation park'.

A marine conservation park must be designated to complement our terrestrial coastal national park.

2. Set a population limit

The States of Jersey must set a meaningful and properly managed population policy.

Too many people living on a small island adversely affects our natural environment and quality of life.

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Pictured: Chris thinks Jersey needs a population limit if it is serious about protecting the natural environment.

I am old enough to remember a limit being set on our population of 70,000. More than half again as many people now live in Jersey and yet our government continues to dither.

3. Less reliance on cars

It is imperative that we reduce our reliance on and worship of the motor car.

We have one of the highest per capita rates of car ownership in the world, with all the related chemical and noise pollution.

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Pictured: Action needs to be taken to bring down Jersey's car use.

We also will not be able to meet our carbon neutral targets without addressing the ‘car problem’.

4. Support organic agriculture

Our government must place a far greater emphasis on organic agriculture: the use of pesticides and herbicides are harmful to our delicate natural environment.

The runoff from chemical fertilisers causes algal blooms in St. Aubins Bay. 

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Pictured: The scourge of sea lettuce is linked to the runoff from chemical fertilisers, which is why the island needs to look at organic agriculture, Chris says.

Jersey could lead the way with high quality/high value organic produce i.e. quality over quantity

5. Better political representation

And, to play devil’s advocate, Jersey should have fewer, better paid States members: we are over represented in terms of politicians. The UK has one MP for every 92,000 people; we have one States Member for every 2,200 people!

It could be argued that all of the issues I highlight above and more could be solved by a better quality of political representative.

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Pictured: Chris thinks there should be fewer States Members, and that they should receive a better salary to attract "captains of industry".

It could also be said that from such a small population, we will always struggle to find 49 capable political representatives, especially as the modest salary is likely to attract mainly the retired, the wealthy or the otherwise unemployable.

So why not have fewer States Members at a level of salary that is more likely to attract ‘captains of industry’ and those passionate about the future of our island?

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