Sunday, 8 March 2009

Amos minutes - March 4th

Minutes of meeting on Wed. March. 4th at 5.45 at  Pastoral Centre, St. Thomas .

Present: Barbara Coram, Adrian Pearce, Claire White, Adrian Pearce, Ed le Quesne and guests Deputy Anne Pryke and Louise Magris

1.    The chairman read an opening prayer from Methodist Relief
2.   We had a wide-ranging discussion with our guests and were impressed with the range of work being undertaken.

An initial survey has identified tidal and offshore wind as the two most viable renewable energy sources around our Island.  A group led by Constable Dan Murphy and including Deputy Power, Deputy Duhamel and Sir Nigel Broomfield and Alick McIntosh (a carbon trader living in Jersey) are now setting up terms of reference to include a legal and financial framework  for the next phase which will look at specific sites and possible developers.  It is hoped to form a partnership with other Channel Islands and have a  C.I. grid.  As tidal power has predictable daily peaks and troughs it makes sense to link with the French grid.  A 2 way interconnector is due  to come into operation by 2012.  It will take 10 to 15 years to get in place, but there is enough energy for the C.I. to be a net exporter of energy to France after supplying all our energy needs.  A 5 megawatt marine current turbine is being tested at Stanford Loch, but the technology will have changed  and improved by the time we are ready to order.

The Eco-active website has about 800 hits per month, with users staying an average of 4 mins, quite good for websites apparently.  Eco-business is gathering strength with one a week signing up and moving up the 3 levels of accreditation.  It  is sponsored by Standard Chartered.  Eco-schools is due for launch this month, with HSBC as partner.  JCG and Grainville are already in the national Eco-schools scheme on which the Jersey scheme is modeled.  It will include items like sustainable travel plans for pupils, cycling proficiency.  The annual Environment week in June, now in its 4th year includes 5000 children taking part.  Funding is being sought for an Environment Co-ordinator to support the enthusiastic teachers that are in most schools.

The Environment Dept won £1.0 million in the 2009 Business plan which will be available for grants for home insulation measures along with a voluntary donation of £0.5m from the JEC.. The groups being targeted are those on income support who qualify for cold weather payments and those over 65 on the health scheme.  They are offered a free visit by an energy advisor, who may recommend loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, lagging, draught proofing etc.  If the home owner agrees the work will be carried out by an approved contractor at no cost to the occupier.   Contractors are rushing to become approved as this money will stay in the local economy.    Up to 600 homes may qualify for this aid, only for home owners.  There is a separate scheme for States tenants, where Housing  are bringing forward energy saving measuring in their 10 year upgrade programme.  Deputy Pryke urged many people to apply for this initiative.

To promote energy efficiency in business eco-business is carrying out a 3 stage process,  The first targets behaviour under the slogan 'No excuses', looking at behaviour like switching off computers etc when not in use., by making sure unwanted lights are switched off ..  It will point out money savings as well as energy saving.   The Treasury procurement group is looking at a strategy tried in Lancaster replacing 1000's of desktop  printers with about 200 multifunction machines, print ,scan, photocopy.  It will introduce a gap between a person deciding to print and the actual operation and may reduce the amount of printing.    The Earth Hour is another part of awareness raising.    New buildings are much more energy efficient.  Some investments can be made in older buildings with reasonable  payback times.

Allotments at Les Creux have been approved and 60 at Mont Cochon are going through the planning process.  Potentially 60 sheds/green houses on this plot causes some worry to the planners so there is no great hurry to approve more sites.

An integrated transport plan is trying to reduce peak traffic by 15% but this is a challenging target in Jersey, where people like their car.  An Eastern cycle route is likely to come about in a number of small steps as the old railway route has been built on.

The energy policy, following the green paper, was held up by the election process at the end of last year.  However Senator Ozouf has now taken it up and it will go to the States  in the 2nd or 3rd quarter this year.  Once this is in place, with official targets, then the Transition Town initiative, which links peak oil and climate change, can be promoted.  Electric points have been included in plans for the Westmount quarry development as electric cars are likely to become more common in Jersey.

The move up from 32% to 36% recycling will be challenging for Jersey with a cost for taking items off Island for recycling,   At present there is no place for dealing with food waste by anaerobic digesters.

The Waterfront plan report to Senator Cohen is not being released at the moment while Harcourt are being checked out.    The States own the Masterplan  so could turn to an alternative developer if Harcourt are not approved.  Higher density housing in town is needed to cope with increased demand for Housing.   The new water resources law will allow better management of our water resources.   Raising reservoir walls rather than a new reservoir is the preferred option for increasing storage.

Our sea defences are evolving to cope with likely effects of climate change on sea level.

Solar power is still not widely used in Jersey .  Technology including thin panel silicon cells are developing rapidly 

Both guests were warmly thanked for their responses to our questions.  The meeting ended at 7.15.
Ed Le Quesne   5/  3 /  09

Extra notes
Apologies were received from Deputy Sean Power.  He had a matter to deal with at St. Brelades so could get to our Feb. meeting.  I hope he will attend  our April meeting

 ELeQ is a lay member of the Scrutiny Panel on the new Income Support system   We have heard a variety of witnesses and will be writing a report to come out in April.  The lack of a personal touch is something everyone is aware of and it will be addressed

We are requested to put forward any names for the Statistics User  group.  Peter Surcouf already represents us.  I don't know of anyone else interested.  It has been advertised and I can pas on more details if anyone would like to apply.

One World Group AGM will be on Thurs. March 26th at St. Martin Public Hall. Ian Gorst will speak. 

Dates of future Amos meetings  Weds. April 1st, May 6th

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