Channel Islands, Europe: States ‘are failing to protect coastline’
A DECADE after thousands of Islanders demonstrated their support for stricter controls on development, politicians are still failing in their duty to protect the Jersey’s coastline, National Trust for Jersey chief executive Charles Alluto, an organiser of the protest, said.
In October 2009, around 6,000 people responded to the National Trust for Jersey’s calls to form a human chain along St Ouen’s Bay to send out a message to government that they wanted the remaining unspoilt areas of coastline protected for future generations and not the enjoyment of the few.
Ten years on, trust chief executive Charles Alluto says that in spite of some immediate successes, which helped the charity to save Plémont headland from development and led to the formation of the Jersey National Park, coastal locations are still being blighted by new big builds – and the activities of minority interests – while supposedly protective measures are being ignored.
Writing in today’s JEP, he says: ‘Undoubtedly, the battle to safeguard our coastline is ongoing and the recent large-scale developments which have made their presence felt so strongly in St Brelade’s Bay or opposite Mont Orgueil Castle are a stark reminder that our planning system is still not sufficiently robust to fully meet the intentions of the Planning Law.’
He goes on to accuse the States of abandoning its commitment to the national park and favouring the demands of groups such as motorhome owners and cyclists over protecting the environment.
He writes: ‘More recently politicians have sought to placate those who shout loudest without considering the potential long-term implications for our coastline.
‘Having recently returned from the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park, it was abundantly clear that great efforts have been made to safeguard the coastal strip and cliffs so that their natural beauty can be enjoyed by everyone all of the time.
‘One can walk on the coastal footpaths there without fear of being run over by a mountain bike. One can hear and see skylarks nesting on the ground because dogs are clearly under control and one can view the coastline for miles without the blot of motorhome camps or unsightly parking provision.’
The National Trust for Jersey will shortly announce events, organised with the Jersey National Park group, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Line in the Sand.
Mike Stentiford, who helped found the park, was president of the National Trust in 2009 and came up with the idea for A Line in the Sand.
He said: ‘While the line is still warmly remembered by its many supporters, we all have the given right to know that our politicians likewise remember and understand the basic reasoning behind such a peaceful act of demonstrative public concern.
‘While looking back an entire decade to the glorious public demonstration it is prudent to remember the commitments made shortly afterwards by the then States of Jersey.’