Guidance for States Members in relation to the Bridging Island Plan
This guidance has been prepared to assist States Members in bringing amendments to the Bridging Island Plan and navigating the new process in relation to amendments and approval of the Plan.
In 2019 the Minister for the Environment (“the Minister”) launched the Island Plan Review Programme, with a view to developing a new 10-year Island Plan for the 2021 to 2030 period. However, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the Island Plan, as originally envisaged, was unable to be progressed. Consequently, the Minister has developed a shorter-term ‘bridging’ Island Plan (“the Plan”) to exist between two longer-term plans (the current Island Plan 2011 to 2021 and a future Island Plan 2025 to 2035).
Outline of Process
The Consultation Period (19th April 2021 – 12th July 2021)
Once the Plan is lodged with the States Greffe, a period known as the “Consultation Period” begins, during which time initial representations can be made either by States Members or members of the public.
For the first time both the public and States Members’ consultations will run simultaneously. As a result, comments on initial representations from States Members can be made by members of the public (Art 4(6)(a)). The proposed date for lodging the Plan is 19th April 2021 and, given the requirement for a 12-week lodging period, the Consultation Period runs from this date until 12th July 2021.
Definition of “Initial Representation”
An “initial representation” as stated in the Order includes –
(a) an amendment lodged by a States Member and treated as a representation (Art 4(1)); and
(b) a representation by a member of the public (Art 6)
Although States Members could choose to make an initial representation as a member of the public (i.e. as a private individual), for the purposes of this guidance, reference to States Members’ representations will be in respect of the lodging of amendments only.
The initial representation period makes no distinction between amendments and amendments to amendments.
Once amendments are lodged, they may be raised and discussed during the Examination in Public (see below for details).
When the Inspectors report is presented in January 2022, this will re-open an amendments period where members may either submit amendments to previously lodged amendments or lodge new amendments (N.B these can only be permitted when they relate to a matter considered in the Examination or in the Inspector’s Report).
Review by the Minister
Following the end of the Consultation Period, the Minister will review all representations received and a report will be produced commenting on each representation, indicating whether or not the Minister would be minded to accept, partially accept or reject the point or suggested change. This includes any amendments lodged by States members. This report will be provided to the appointed planning inspectors for their consideration as part of the examination in public process.
- Legislation requires the appointment of Inspectors to “conduct an examination in public, in which representations are to be heard in public before the draft bridging plan is debated before the States” (Art 7). This includes amendments lodged during the Consultation Period.
- The Plan, and all representations (including amendments), will be formally issued to the Inspectors on 2nd August 2021, at which point they will examine the Plan, the evidence base, the consultation responses, and States Members’ amendments.
- The Inspectors will preview all the initial representations as they come in and may require further evidence or explanation (e.g. to supply background material or a summary of what has been put forward) or any information the Inspector deems necessary to clarify or support the representation. The Inspectors may suggest meetings, called ‘informal resolution meetings’ (Art 11(1)-(4)), between parties to resolve issues before the public hearings take place. This can include hearings with States Members in relation to amendments.
The EIP (Examination in Public)
The Inspectors will hold a series of public events, known as the Examination in Public, where they will consider the draft Plan, its evidence base and representations (including States Members’ amendments).
A hearing schedule for the EIP will be published and public hearings held in accordance with the schedule (Art 12). The Inspectors will invite persons to appear and be heard, where the inspectors consider that person will contribute usefully to the examination of the subject matter of that hearing.
During the EIP, States Members can submit further representations to the planning inspectors, provided they have submitted an initial representation (i.e. lodged an amendment); but according to the legislation the further representation must relate to –
- a matter in relation to which the inspector has invited the representation;
- a matter which has previously been raised by a representation in respect of the draft bridging plan; or
- if a thematic or plenary hearing is to be held, a matter to be addressed at the hearing, irrespective of whether the person making it is to appear and be heard at that hearing. (Art 10(2))
The EIP will inform the inspectors’ later recommendations to the Minister, to ensure that the final plan represents the needs of Islanders as accurately as possible. The EIP is expected to take place in late autumn and States Members may be asked to attend to answer questions in relation to their amendments. Not all matters will be heard in public, and many matters, at the inspectors’ discretion, will be dealt with ‘on papers’.
There will be no opportunity for anyone to approach the Inspectors. Matters relating to the procedures of the EIP may be directed to the appointed programme officer.
Minister presents report to the States Assembly (mid-January 2022)
The Inspectors will prepare a report for the Minister. The Minister will then present the report, with his comments, to the States Assembly.
States Members will have a final opportunity to lodge amendments to the Plan prior to the debate. There will be a 2-week period following the presentation of the Minister’s Report when Members can lodge additional amendments and amendments to amendments
The debate is scheduled for late Q1 2022 and is expected to last at least a week. The Minister can propose an amendment to the Plan at this stage, including during the debate, but only with the agreement of the Assembly. This may include amendments to resolve technicalities or to resolve the consolidation of more than one other amendment.
How States Members can engage in the process
States Members can engage in the process by bringing an initial representation (see definition above) either as a States Member (through an amendment) or as a member of the public.
The procedures differ depending on which approach is taken.
- There is an online consultation platform (available at www.gov.je/islandplan) for members of the public to visit and compete an online form – hard copies of the form are available if required. Separate guidance for making representations as a member of the public is available alongside the consultation documents online.
- A States Member lodges an amendment in the usual manner with the States Greffe. The Members’ Resources team will be available to assist with the drafting of Amendments and to undertake attendant research.
Content of Amendments
Amendments should cover only one aspect of the policy or plan where possible although it is accepted that an amendment might cover more than one aspect/policy, given the overarching nature of the Plan. Structuring amendments in a way that deals with one policy at a time will, however, support the structuring of the final debate, where matters can be discussed on a thematic basis. It is important, however, to ensure that the wording of an amendment is not ambiguous and that the purpose behind it is very clear.
Planning Officers will be available at given times to discuss aspects of any amendment with States Members and further information on their availability will be provided by the Members’ Resources team.
Comments from the General Public
Any member of the public may comment directly on a States Member’s amendment. Any comments will be made as representations through the public portal, but the member of the public may, within such representations, quote an amendment and say whether they agree or disagree with it.
A States Member has recourse to speak publicly on the matter using the normal media channels or wait to see if it comes up during the EIP, in which case they can make further representations and/or be heard.
The legislation provides 3 specific opportunities for States Members to engage in the process.
• During the Consultation Period (19th April 2021 – 12th July 2021)
Amendments may be lodged by States Members (or they may submit a representation as a member of the public).
• During the period for Further Representations (27th August 2021 to 8th September 2021)
During the Examination in Public stage, a States Member and members of the public can submit a further representation to the planning inspectors, provided they have submitted an initial representation (i.e. lodged an amendment) and the further representation must relate to matters which have previously been raised by a representation in respect of the draft bridging plan.
For the avoidance of doubt this is not a period for lodging amendments. Information can only be provided in relation to an amendment that has already been lodged. This additional information is appended to the amendment as an addendum to ensure that the full information and background gets carried through to the debate.
• Final 2-week amendment period
After the Minister has presented the Inspectors’ report with his comments to the States Assembly, there will be a 2-week window for further amendments.
- Amendments to the Plan must be lodged 5 weeks before the Plan debate.
- Amendments to amendments must be lodged 4 weeks before the Plan is debated.
Publishing of Representations
In addition to the usual lodging process and publication, amendments by States Members will be available on a dedicated webpage within the States Assembly website. This is to ensure easy access and co-ordination of all Members’ amendments, as well as providing information and links to the Island Plan webpage, to the public.
A schedule will be published to present the Plan in each Parish, providing an opportunity for Parishioners and States Members to have an early opportunity to discuss their local issues and concerns relating specifically to their Parish and the chance to have questions answered.
|11/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session ||1600-1900hrs||St. Helier||Town Hall|
|12/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session ||1600-1900hrs||St. Peter||Parish Hall|
|13/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1600-1900hrs||St.Clement||Parish Hall|
|15/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1000-1300hrs||St. Brelade||Parish Hall|
|18/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1600-1900hrs||St. Saviour||Parish Hall|
|19/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1600-1900hrs||St. John||Parish Hall|
|20/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1600-1900hrs||St. Lawrence||Community Centre|
|22/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1000-1300hrs||St. Martin||Parish Hall|
|25/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1600-1900hrs||St. Ouen||Parish Hall|
|26/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1600-1900hrs||St. Mary||Parish Hall|
|27/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1600-1900hrs||Grouville||Parish Hall|
|29/05/2021||Roadshow/drop in session||1000-1300hrs||Trinity||Parish Hall|
Individual briefings will be held with Connétables to discuss the allocation of housing sites, and the Island Plan review team will be available throughout the 12-week consultation period for any further discussions with States Members, as may be required.