Monday, 5 February 2018

Guernsey Watch

Guernsey Watch

My occasional look at news in the neighbouring Bailiwick

Waste Water

PUBLIC drinking fountains will be on the agenda at the next Environment & Infrastructure committee meeting. Its president, Barry Brehaut, said it was something the committee would like to see happen.

‘There is clearly a move away from single use plastics, because it really does concern people – it concerns us all,’ he said. ‘It’s something we’d like to stop and if we can do that by ensuring there are fountains around St Peter Port and elsewhere then it’s worth doing. It’s worth approaching the douzaine to see what pumps are in the possession of the parish that may be used, or take advice as to where they might be installed.’

This is interesting because, independently, Simon Crowcroft has also been thinking of this in St Helier, and of course the same is proposed for London

“A new network of drinking fountains and bottle-refill points is set to be rolled out across London this year as part of a plan to reduce the amount of waste created by single-use plastic, the Guardian has learned.”

And in 2017, the Telegraph reported:

“Keep Britain Tidy found that only around seven per cent of the population ever use communal water fountains while four times as many people spend money on expensive and environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles of water.”

I wonder if this will become a local election issue!

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

The weather which smashed up Jersey’s sea wall along Victoria Avenue has also proven destructive in Alderney. In January, a story read:

STORMY weather and spring tides have inflicted what is thought to be the worst damage for several years to Alderney’s breakwater. Huge granite stones were torn from the Victorian edifice and more than a dozen two-tonne blocks landed along its walkway.
Although the breakwater gets a battering every new year, a combination of gale force winds and a strong spring tide meant it sustained a worse pounding than usual. Around 12 granite blocks, measuring about a metre and a half in length, broke off the seaward side of the breakwater and were brought over the top by the force of the water on Wednesday. Each block is estimated to weigh between two and three tonnes. A 10m section of coping stones was also stripped off further down the wall on its harbour side – but it could stretch to 30m on the seaward side.

The increase in severe weather events means this is more rather than less likely.

A Southampton study for a course exercise in "Coastal & Maritime Engineering and Energy" notes:

The existing Victorian breakwater on the Island of Alderney (Channel islands) is a blockwork structure which suffers recurrent damages. It will need to be replaced in the near future. In this design exercise, the outline design for a replacement will be developed based on an assessment of wave conditions, design requirements (harbour area and harbour wave conditions) and a diffraction analysis of the harbour basin. 

And in another story about the sea:

MARINERS are being urged to be vigilant while sailing off Jersey’s coast as large pieces of debris from a £1.8m. yacht which sank last year continue to pose a hazard to vessels.
Small pieces of the yacht, including seat cushions and plastic covers, began to come ashore days after a salvage attempt was abandoned because the wreck was breaking up on the sea bed.
Why was it towed to deeper water rather than grounded on the beach?

While there may have been good reasons for the decision, at the moment Ports of Jersey are keeping rather quiet about it.

Trouble in Sark

THREE of Sark’s senior politicians have resigned as conseillers, with one warning that the island’s system of government must evolve with the times.

The chairman and deputy chairman of Sark government’s senior committee, Policy & Performance, Charles Maitland and Hazel Fry, have stood down.

Robert Cottle, who was the deputy chairman of Finance & Resources, has also resigned. ‘The workload on Finance & Resources is very heavy and during my five years as a conseiller I haven’t been able to achieve the direction that I think Chief Pleas should be going in,’ said Mr Cottle. ‘Chief Pleas needs to be more forward-looking and progressive, but it seems to be reverting to ways of old. I don’t believe this is the right way to go and I am leaving it to those who feel otherwise to get on with it.’

Conseiller Maitland said: "It's been increasingly obvious that GP&A has really got too much work... we deal with all Sark's external relationships and we're at the forefront of reform. It's a lot to expect unpaid amateur politicians to cope with, this is really why I've been pushing for help in Sark's administration and why we're taking that to Chief Pleas. Sark's administration has never been reformed in all of its 450 years and the committee system has grown... we've now got 16 independent committees and it really needs serious reform."

The committee's proposals for employing full-time civil servants are due to be discussed at the Chief Pleas Easter meeting.

Sark got an administrator in 2013, when a proposal, for a civil servant to help coordinate the work of government and advise conseillers, was accepted by 21 votes to four. This was the first civil servant hired by the Government, and as far as I can see the only one.

The last 5 years have seen increased regulatory burdens on business and government, and probably terrified of an army of civil servants, Sark simply has not moved ahead, and the burden on conseillers in Chief Pleas has grown. Something has got to change if government is to remain viable in Sark.


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