STATES OF JERSEY
FRIDAY, 23rd JULY 2021
PUBLIC BUSINESS - resumption
1. Les Quennevais Park Flats Loan Scheme - Revised Terms (P.71/2021) - as amended (P.71/2021 Amd.)
1.1 Deputy R. Labey (The Minister for Housing and Communities):
1.1.1 Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:
1.1.2 Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:
1.1.3 Deputy M. Tadier:
1.1.4 Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour:
1.1.5 Senator S.W. Pallett:
1.1.6 Senator S.C. Ferguson:
1.1.7 Deputy R. Labey:
2. Carbon Neutral Jersey (Consideration “in-committee”)
2.1 Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade (The Minister for the Environment):
2.1.1 Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:
2.1.2 Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:
2.1.3 Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier:
2.1.4 Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:
2.1.5 Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:
2.1.6 Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour:
2.1.7 Senator S.C. Ferguson:
2.1.8 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:
2.1.9 Connétable D.W. Mezbourian of St. Lawrence:
2.1.10 The Connétable of St. Brelade:
2.1.11 Senator K.L. Moore:
2.1.12 Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin:
2.1.13 Deputy G.J. Truscott:
2.1.14 Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:
2.1.15 The Deputy of St. Martin:
2.1.16 Deputy C.F. Labey of Grouville:
2.1.17 Senator L.J. Farnham:
2.1.18 Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:
2.1.19 Senator S.C. Ferguson:
2.1.20 Connétable S.A. Le Sueur-Rennard of St. Saviour:
2.1.21 Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:
2.1.22 Deputy K.C. Lewis:
2.1.23 Senator S.C. Ferguson:
2.1.24 Deputy J.H. Young:
ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC BUSINESS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS
3. Deputy C.S. Alves of St. Helier (Chair, Privileges and Procedures Committee):
The Roll was called and the Deputy Greffier of the States led the Assembly in Prayer.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
We carry on this morning with the debate on P.71, Les Quennevais Park Flats Loan Scheme - Revised Terms. Minister, I understand you wish to propose the proposition as amended by yourself.
Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier:
Yes, please, Sir.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Is there any objection? I do not hear any objections to proceeding in that way; therefore, I ask the Greffier to read the proposition as amended by the Minister.
The Deputy Greffier of the States:
The States are asked to decide whether they are of opinion to refer to their Act of 22nd April 2021, in which they varied the purpose and terms of the 99-Year Leaseholders Fund to enable monies to be lent from the fund to individual property owners for the repair of balconies in blocks A to H, Les Quennevais Flats, and to vary the terms of such loans to allow for the following: (a) a change to the eligibility criteria to apply a retained savings limit of £20,000, irrespective of marital status or pensionable age; (b) an increase in the maximum amount being made available from the 99-Year Leaseholders Fund to £700,000; (c) the provision of loans for either 10 or 15 years; (d) a fixed interest rate of 1 per cent per annum for the whole term of a loan.
I am grateful to Members for allowing me to take this before September. This proposition, as amended and if approved today, changes the criteria for those trying to avail themselves of the loan. It means that individuals or couples with savings up to £20,000 are still eligible to apply for the loan. To facilitate this we are asking that we increase the amount we can draw down from the 99-Year Leaseholders Fund to £700,000; there is currently £740,000 in it. We have brought in a new option for a 15-year repayment plan in addition to the 10-year option of P.19, the original proposition. This would be paid at interest-only and then the capital sum at the end of the period, or on the sale of the apartment or it can be paid capital and interest as it goes. We have cut the interest rate by 1 per cent. It was 2 per cent, so it is now 1 per cent for the whole term of the loan. I make the proposition.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Is the proposition seconded? [Seconded] Deputy Tadier, you have a second amendment to this proposition. I was not sure from yesterday whether you intended to proceed with it, could you clarify?
Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:
Now that the Minister has moved his proposition as amended, I am happy to forgo my amendment.
I just wanted to thank the Minister for listening to the district Deputies and the Senator, and for taking on board the concerns of the residents of the flats. I think this is an example of how it all works, Ministerial Government. We have a Minister here who took on board the concerns and has come back with a scheme that is more beneficial to the people that find themselves in this difficult position. I really have to commend the Minister for doing this. I think it is one of the well-known supermarket brands whose slogan is: “Every little helps.” I think in this case, the adjustments that the Minister has made to the loan will make the loan more bearable, so I really appreciate the Minister for doing this. I do urge Members to back this.
I would just at this point like to thank Deputy Tadier for following this through. Clearly these are really difficult economic times and the residents of these properties have found themselves in a situation not of their doing and the Government now have a degree of culpability. I am pleased that the Minister for Housing and Communities has accepted that and adapted the scheme to suit, so I do appreciate the efforts that Deputy Tadier has made. Thank you very much.
I thank the Constable for his kind and generous words. Really, this has effectively been because the residents themselves got together and explained to the representatives of their area, including the Constable, that they were not happy with the current scheme. I am not going to rehash the previous debate we had because I will mention, of course, the fact that there are still many residents, especially the ones who are leaseholders as opposed to outright owners of their flats, who feel particularly aggrieved. Because, as has been mentioned, there is an element where they feel they were let down by the States who, had they built this properly at the time, would never be in this situation. I think it is important to emphasise that leaseholders of course do not own the flat, so in theory these flats will revert to the States at some point in the future, in roughly 50 years’ time. Now I know the reality of that is probably different because I do not think these flats are ever going to be back in States ownership. They will be at some point sold on to somebody else but that may not be for a very long time and it may not be the current leaseholders who are the beneficiaries of any increase in value, if that does happen. A lot of the leaseholders are quite happy being leaseholders. There are a handful still, not many of course, but a handful of the original purchasers of those leases who are effectively paying their rent upfront and they are scratching their heads as to why they are being asked to pay the same amount of money as somebody who owns their flat outright and who can then of course sell that flat and recoup the money that they have invested in the balcony, so there is an inherent discrepancy there. What this does not resolve, unfortunately, is what happens to the ... and I have spoken to quite a few residents in this situation who said: “Look, it does not matter whether there is a States loan scheme or a private loan scheme being made available at whatever interest, I simply cannot afford to pay that back. Even if it has been offered at an interest-only, how am I going to pay back that lump sum at the end?” They do not have a clear way. What it seems to me here is that the scheme might have ostensibly been set up to try and help residents and owners who did not have the money out of a difficult situation but it has really helped Brunel, the management company, out of a difficult situation. Again, they are having to put the money upfront for this, which is not normally the way to proceed. I still do not know what is going to happen and this is something which is going to come back potentially. I hope it does not, I hope that this all runs smoothly, but what happens when some of the residents simply do not pay their contributions because they do not have the money in the bank and they may not be eligible indeed for the new scheme, even if they fall over the threshold?
I wanted to caveat that by saying I think there are potential problems in the future and I think the current representatives of the area are aware of that. I would thank them for the way we have worked together up until now. Senator Pallett and Deputy Truscott made themselves available at quite short notice and I know, even those who could not make the meeting, Senator Ferguson has been working on this for a long time, and the Constable has obviously been keeping a watchful eye. Even though we perhaps arrived at different positions on the last debate, I know that we all share the concerns that the residents raised and they were listened to. I do thank the Minister because it is some kind of consolation in real terms. It means that those who take the scheme out will be paying less interest in terms of the 2 per cent to 1 per cent. That is going to be money in their pocket, which is going to make a real difference for those who are struggling on a weekly and monthly basis. That money will help them in a real way. The 15 years, some will benefit from that. If we are honest, a lot of residents said: “The 15-year repayment does not particularly help us, it just means we pay back smaller monthly payments but over a longer period so we are paying back more” but I recognise that it is nonetheless a concession that the Minister has made. I thank him and the officers for the work that they have put in there. I think we will have learnt lessons from this. It has been a really difficult time I think in which to be able to engage effectively, and that is probably why some of these concerns were raised more widely after the event, if you like, which is never easy. I hope that the residents will recognise that this scheme is an improved version of what was presented a few months ago, albeit that it does not meet all of their expectations, and I can understand that. Thank you.
Very briefly, when I was Minister for Housing and Communities, Senator Ferguson was championing this cause and again we need to thank her for the role that she played within this. I think it is important not to write Members out of history. So just to say that and also to thank the officers in Housing and Treasury for the hard work that they have done behind the scenes. That is all, thank you.
I just want to speak very briefly as well. I want to thank the Minister for taking what has been I think a pragmatic approach to what turned out to be quite a difficult discussion with residents. I also want to thank Deputy Tadier for persevering with this because there were residents who were clearly struggling to find a way to be able to pay for the improvements or the repairs to their balconies. I thank both of them for the time they put into this. I think there are some lessons to be learnt here. I think the lesson that needs to be taken out of this is the delay that we have seen over the last few months could have been avoided if the residents had been listened to at an earlier stage. It was clear in the meeting that we had at Communicare that many were in a difficult position. I think it is just a shame that maybe there should have been better engagement with the residents when it was clear that a solution needed to be found. Getting back to my first point, I think the Minister has grasped the nettle, he has come along with a pragmatic solution to this and one that will provide a solution for the vast majority of residents. I am sure some will still feel a little aggrieved that they have to pay this but, at the end of the day, it is important I think for all of them that they have the opportunity to get the work done as soon as possible so that they can get their buildings insured correctly and they can get on with their lives. Again, I just want to thank the Minister and I want to thank Deputy Tadier for persevering with this.
I would like to thank my fellow constituency representatives for picking this up and taking it forward. It is unfortunate that we had quite a number of meetings before I started getting the Housing Committee, Property Holdings and Treasury working on this. I am sorry if we did not get it across to people that they would have to pay. It is not legal just to give taxpayers’ money to other taxpayers but the whole thing is legally, I gather, fairly complicated. Thank you to Deputy Tadier for carrying this forward when I was not always in a position to do so but I am back now and fighting for them. I thank everybody and the Ministers involved.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Does any other Member wish to speak on the proposition? If no other Member wishes to speak on the proposition, then I call on the Minister to reply to the debate.
I would like to thank Members for their kind words just now. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Deputy Truscott, Deputy Tadier and Senator Pallett on this in the latter stages and I am grateful to them. I do recognise that it was Senator Ferguson who pioneered this and has been working solo on it with officers for quite a long time, since 2019 I think, so thanks to her too and the officers. It has been quite a long process that was not helped by COVID. I maintain the proposition.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
I will ask the Greffier to put a link into the chat channel. The link is there, the vote is on P.71 as amended, and I ask Members to cast their votes. If all Members have had the opportunity to cast their vote, I will ask the Greffier to close the voting.
Senator L.J. Farnham:
My vote was a pour. Sorry, but I think I might be too late; I had a technical issue.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Senator Farnham, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. The proposition has been adopted.
Senator L.J. Farnham
Senator S.C Ferguson
Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré
Senator T.A. Vallois
Senator K.L. Moore
Senator S.W. Pallett
Connétable of St. Helier
Connétable of St. Lawrence
Connétable of St. Brelade
Connétable of Grouville
Connétable of St. Peter
Connétable of St. Ouen
Connétable of St. Martin
Connétable of St. John
Deputy J.A. Martin (H)
Deputy G.P. Southern (H)
Deputy of Grouville
Deputy M. Tadier (B)
Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)
Deputy J.M. Maçon (S)
Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)
Deputy of St. Martin
Deputy of St. Ouen
Deputy L.M.C. Doublet (S)
Deputy R. Labey (H)
Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)
Deputy of St. Mary
Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)
Deputy J.H. Young (B)
Deputy L.B.E. Ash (C)
Deputy K.F. Morel (L)
Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)
Deputy of St. Peter
Deputy of Trinity
Deputy of St. John
Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)
Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)
Deputy R.J. Ward (H)
Deputy C.S. Alves (H)
Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)
Deputy I. Gardiner (H)
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
We now move on to the last item of Public Business which is the in-committee debate entitled Carbon Neutral Jersey. In-committee debates, Members will, I am sure, be familiar with the format. There is no vote at the end of the debate and Members are entitled to speak twice. It is customary for the Presiding Officer to take those Members who want to speak for the first time before returning to second speeches and subsequents. Yesterday the Deputy Bailiff indicated half a day should be allocated for this debate, which would take us up to around lunchtime. I propose to see how we are going in a couple of hours and hopefully Members will have a consensus as to when the debate should come to an end. The document Carbon Neutral Jersey was presented by the Minister for the Environment, so I would be looking to Deputy Young to introduce the debate.
I would like to open this in-committee debate in 3 very, very brief ways. Firstly, by reminding Members how we have made it to this exciting point of our journey in tackling the carbon emergency. I want to recognise the efforts made by the members of the citizens’ assembly, the incredible efforts, extensive input from our community and the participants in the citizens’ assembly in reaching their conclusions, which personally I am so very impressed by. Secondly, I would like to make some suggestions to Members about how we might consider conducting this debate in the time that we have assigned to us. Finally, and particularly important, I think, for me, and for all of us, is I will read a statement from the Youth Parliament on the recommendations of the citizens’ assembly. Of course, we have the opportunity today to deviate from the usual proposition and decision-making framework that we obviously normally and rightly have to adhere to. But of course this in-committee debate allows us to be much more explorative and explore the decisions and the stark realities that face the whole world and our community of tackling the climate emergency and how we can go about and what we need to do to delivering our aim that we have agreed of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. I am absolutely sure I do not need to remind the Members of the Assembly of the pledge that we made together on behalf of our community overwhelmingly in 2019. We have got the luxury of some space for us today to explore how we might build the foundations of decarbonising our economy. Of course that is in common with what all hydrocarbon-based economies are faced with in the coming decades. It is a difficult journey, and that will remain, and there will be hard decisions for societies and ourselves to make to ensure - and this is a key point - a just and fair transition to a new carbon-free world. Today is not a day to find or design all the solutions. Of course, I want to thank those Islanders who came forward in response to the request that was made to them to do so; they responded so magnificently, and took part in the task we gave them. We were very specific in the questions we asked them and I would like to reflect on what they told us in their excellent report. I am sure we all remember when in early 2020, before our minds and everything seemed to be dominated by dealing with COVID, we agreed the carbon neutral strategy and we decided we would have a people-powered approach and what I have personally seen is a bottom-up, if you like. Government’s job is seen as a top-down method, top-down approach, but of course that can only succeed when the very best comes, when you have changes in society, reforms in societies and improvements to well-being achieved that are led from the top, i.e., through the democratic system and fed by the people. I think that is what was at the heart of the approach, we said. The reasoning - why did we do that because we do not do it on many other things, or hardly any, although we would like to, I think - but it is the scale of the challenge of climate change, and the difficulties and the hugeness of the response, because the solutions have to be owned broadly and also need to be based on informed views and the advice they give us right across our community.
We carried out community engagement through our climate conversation, that was one of the steps we did, which took place before the citizens’ assembly in the spring this year. I was amazingly impressed. The participants in the citizens’ assembly remain an incredible contribution of over 1,500 hours of their collective time and effort to produce the Comprehensive Recommendations report that has been published, and was published without any political interference. We can take that absolutely as our clear starting point in our political journey and our political responsibilities to it. I would like us today to try and discuss the ambitions that they expressed and keep our minds open, please, to the various routes, the many routes to carbon neutrality, and try to seek common ground. What we are trying to do is ensure that the process was solid and reliable, driven by independent expert evidence at all times and properly-facilitated discussion. We put in a lot of effort, it did cost a lot of money, and I make no apology for that. If we are going to do this, I took the view it needed to be done properly. The recommendations we received are well-considered, participants were asked to vote on them and effectively to sign up to them. We have seen a Scrutiny Panel report because right at the off when we set the citizens’ assembly up, we all wanted to make sure that what I have described was done properly and absolutely fairly and scrupulously. Therefore, I thank the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel that had the opportunity to be part of the process that took place. Although they were not expressing political opinions, they were there, they offered, and the States asked them to, to check on that. What we have seen is their report which concludes that the process was entirely independent and free from political and other influences, impartial, informative and transparent. All that evidence that they had is all there, it is all available online. I am sure many Members will have looked at it already but, if you have not had a chance yet, please do. It gives you, if you like, the thinking and the rationale. Despite the complexity, when presented with all the evidence, our citizens’ assembly, our Islanders, they did not back off this challenge of becoming carbon neutral. Instead, they set an ambition and were optimistic for a different future and they have given us a very clear message for an early date for carbon neutrality and ambitious milestones along the way. That was one of the key questions they were asked: the level of the ambition, how fast? The citizens’ assembly members asked if they could propose other dates. They did and they came to a conclusion that they wanted to see an ambitious timetable. I mentioned the Jersey’s Youth Parliament. For me, next month I shall be 75, I will be kicked out of the States Members’ Pension Scheme that I am grateful for. That scheme came about - ironically, I probably worked for 15 years without a pension at some stage - but I took the chance to do so but that is by the by. The point is, this is about generations, this is for the future. I do not think there are many issues that are so fundamental as this and that is why it is really important that our young people, their voice is loud and heard in this debate. Sadly, I could not personally meet them, and I suppose that is because I have been very cautious during COVID, and I apologise for that. I am sure Members understand, I tried to engage, but it has been much more difficult for all of us; I found that particularly so. Nonetheless, I gave them every support I could in other ways. I pledged today to read to you a statement from the Jersey’s Youth Parliament who had time to debate and consider the citizens’ assembly report and they have really drawn a number of poignant conclusions that I ask Members to please bear in mind, have at the forefront of their minds in today’s debate, because they will be listening. They will be listening. Their statement is as follows. These are the words I am going to read now from the Jersey’s Youth Parliament and I am going to ask that they be published: “We, as the Jersey Youth Parliament, agree with the recommendations made by the citizens’ assembly on climate change. However, we have ambitions that we want to achieve but we need your help, States Members, to do this. Firstly, we want a bright, sustainable future for Jersey and, as the youth of our Island, we have strong dreams that we aim to accomplish and our views are very important. As the Government have said, they want to put children first and, therefore, we need to be heard. We have loads of ideas that we feel should be implemented into the carbon neutral roadmap and together we can work to make a difference to our beautiful Island of Jersey. We are all very passionate about this issue as it determines our future and the future of generations after us. How can we, as a Jersey Youth Parliament, focus on other issues in the Island when we are conscious that we might not have a world to fix if climate change is not tackled now? We fully support the decision that has been made to set the year 2030 as the target for carbon neutrality. We feel that this is a timescale which both reflects the urgency of the climate crisis and provides a real opportunity for us to achieve our aims. If we work together as an Island we can challenge climate change before it is too late. These recommendations are key to securing a thriving and a prosperous future for us all to enjoy and cherish. With all this in mind, we firmly believe that the use of fossil-fuelled vehicles should be phased out [phased out, I repeat that] are not banned, as the cost of living is going up and banning these might limit the quality of life of young people. We have carefully discussed each recommendation made and its implications and we firmly believe that these are the steps we must take to secure the future. We appreciate the work done by the citizens’ assembly that has gone into producing these recommendations and we hope you will fully consider them. We look forward to seeing the carbon-neutral roadmap and to a path which will help us combat climate emergency. We only have one chance so we need to make it count.” Members, colleagues, I do not know how you reacted to that statement but the first time I read it, it brought tears to my eyes, that this is what our young people are saying to us. Moving now to our task today. In this debate I suggested some areas of discussion in the papers that I have asked to be circulated. Report R.120, I am sure if it is not there, I would perhaps ask the Greffier to put it into the chat so those can perhaps have access to it - it is of course online - which is the brief paper with the suggested areas of discussion that we set out. I would direct Members to section 4 on page 6 of that document which sets out what we suggest is the approach, but it is for Members to say. As I say, I ask us to keep our minds open, please, about possibilities of change. Obviously we now know the level of ambition of our young people and the citizens’ assembly with carbon neutral by 2030 and it does require an aggressive on-Island carbon-reduction programme. But of course they do see the potential benefits that will accrue to us, a long-term benefit, yes: less traffic on our roads, healthier lifestyles, economic transformation and reputational benefits. Of course, I would add as well there is a wider picture here - I am going to add to the notes that have been given - for Jersey’s place in the world because Jersey is a small, wonderful Island and I have been privileged to be part of it for 40-plus years, it is my home, it always punches above its weight. I think this is an area where Jersey can set an example, we are a wealthy community where other parts of the world do not have that wealth. We have great community cohesion, we have got a fantastic community, we should be able to, I think, really set out and put ourselves ahead of others and gain that reputation. I would hope this is maybe an ambition that there will be economic benefits as a result of that. Our financial services industry, incredibly clever, responding to new circumstances, and I feel sure that there will be opportunities which our community will get to take as well. The journey to this point using participated democracy which is the citizens’ assembly approach, of course, it is unprecedented. The next step now is for us to produce what we are calling a carbon-neutral roadmap. I think if you see the paper that we have outlined, we have set out there what we see are the process steps but that carbon-neutral roadmap is the next work. What today is about, what we want to do is have Members reflect, to be able to let us have the steer, let us have their initial responses, as I said, and that will inform the work of the roadmap that the officers are going to do, and will be coming back to the Assembly ... I cannot remember the exact timetable; I will pick that up later when I get a note of that. But the essential point is that roadmap will provide a route with the actions required and the financial actions necessary and fiscal measures and so on, I am sure they will have to be considered, and a decision made following right through for the next elected Assembly. I think this is our responsibility now to respond to the work that has been done by our community and set us on that track in what we think will be in the roadmap: it will outline the ambition, the policies and the funding. I will be, if I am still here as a Minister, I hope I am - as Members know, I am not carrying on - but I see it as my responsibility to bring this piece of work through and of course the Island Plan as well, crucial things. Those are my entire focuses during my term of office so that there is a situation that can deliver in future years.
Of course the States now have the ultimate decision-making and I hope that the citizens’ assembly recommendation are the backbone of the outcome of those decisions. Sorry, I have probably spoken too long but I think this is a very emotive subject to me. I am grateful to Members for giving me that chance to make those introductory remarks. I am sure my colleagues, Deputy Guida, Assistant Minister, I know he has got a huge amount of work now, but Gregory was absolutely keen to remain with me because he and I have been on this journey together. Also fantastic support from the officers and of course Deputy Jess Perchard, although she is not here, has also had a big involvement. I also ask Members to please bear in mind this autumn, Britain, the British Isles, is hosting C.O.P.26 (Conference of the Parties) and that is something where I think is great opportunity for Britain, British Isles, to really show how we do this and Jersey should be part of that. I have already certainly had preliminary conversations with our fellow Crown Dependencies and I am sure they are considering their own positions, and I would like us to be well at the front of all this. Thank you, Members. Thank you for listening to me, and I will stop at that point.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
If I can remind Members the rules on time limits apply to other Members during this debate although there is the facility to speak a second and subsequent time. First to speak is Deputy Ward.
I wanted to speak early to cover as much as possible and try to set out a clear position around this issue. When I brought P.27 some time ago now, one of the reasons, if I am honest, I brought it was an annoyance really that we were not discussing climate change, it was not being discussed at the Council of Ministers, so I thought I would just get them and make sure it is on their agenda. Then it occurred to me that, hold on, we have got to be addressing this issue, it is an emergency, and from that evolved that proposition. I thank Members for the foresightedness of supporting that and that stimulating where we are now and our future actions. I want to approach this debate by looking for solutions rather than any criticism of Ministers. I hope that we can have a debate around the positive steps that we take to play our part in tackling what is described as an existential threat. I want to pick up on that phrase “existential threat”. It is an almost impossible concept for us to understand, it is like looking at our own mortality. Nobody really wants to do this, and we certainly do not want to look at the threats to our children, but the reality of what we face looms large and the enormity of the challenge to solve the problem looms larger. Addressing the report from the Climate Change Assembly, and I start by thanking the members for their work and for the presentation they gave to Members, I believe it was recorded if Members could not attend and I urge Members to have a look at that. To start the debate, I want to be clear that I am firmly on the side of reducing carbon emissions as opposed to buying offsets. There are 2 reasons for this: reducing carbon emissions is the long-term solution to this crisis; and the second thing is offsets allow a mindset that we can carry on as we are and just plant a few trees or buy those carbon offsets somewhere else. I do not think that is the way forward. I have huge concerns that the debate will centre purely on one definition of economic costs. Often when we debate in this Assembly, costs are thrown into the mix and too often the figures have no real evidence behind them. Huge figures will be bandied about in this debate but do they include the spending that would happen anyway in renewal of old technology with more old technology with a limited lifespan? A simple example is the combustion engine that is clearly coming to an end of its life around the world. Perhaps we should view this as a capital project and give it the same priority and what are seemingly endless funds. We are spending £800 million on a hospital because we see this as essential for the long-term future health of the Island and indeed £100 million for an office block, the long-term benefits of which are, at best, questionable. We spent millions to support businesses during the pandemic, an opportunity to drive change which may well have been missed. So what if we viewed climate change in the same way? Here is £100 million to upgrade your Island to begin with. We can develop cycling and walking pathways and the huge health and welfare benefits they bring: recommendations 5 and 6 in the citizens’ assembly report on transport. I am going to reference a few parts just so that people know perhaps where to have a look and to see. We could subsidise green fuels as a transition fuel rather than spending money off-Island to offset the use of polluting diesel. Look at recommendations 1 of 2 of the climate change report from the citizens’ assembly. We could have public transport that is a far cheaper option than the use of a car. It is wrong that a family will have to spend more to travel to town and back on the bus than it costs them to drive and park. It is narrow-sighted and in no way an incentive to change behaviour and we still charge our children to get the bus to school. How is this going to produce a culture change in the way we transport ourselves? I urge people to look at recommendations 3 and 4 of the report in the transport section. We could fit renewables to our homes, modern solar is becoming, if it is not already, one of the cheapest forms of energy, let alone the potential for offshore wind and tidal energy. We must not allow new homes to be built without future-proofing them for climate impact. We must look ahead to look at how high temperatures will affect the most vulnerable in our community. Our homes, in the main, are not built for this. I have certainly felt that in the last few days being stuck at home in isolation. The elderly will struggle and we must not just leave this. The recommendations on heating and cooling in this report are a very interesting read and we need to take it on board. We need to recognise that efficient homes are cheaper to run and this is a disproportionately positive impact on the lowest earning in our community. It lowers the cost of living, the long-term savings improve lives and stimulate the economy long term. We need to invest to support a change in farming practices, which will provide future food security and protect an industry that will need to respond to changes in climate. What we grow, how we grow it and how we make local produce the go-to choice is a key issue that we have control over that we seem to have ignored for too long. We must look at food waste. How much do we import with a huge carbon footprint and then throw away or burn in the incinerator? Why not invest in a processing plant that can use this food and provide meals for our schools, our elderly, our vulnerable? Rather than burning it, let us cycle it through our economy, let us cycle it through our community. We will need to mitigate drought and periods of high rainfall. These are serious issues we face in the long term. We need to look at air quality improvement and the subsequent improvement in health, which improves lives and saves money from the health budget. We must listen to children, they are really on this subject. I attended the Youth Parliament when they debated many of the topics and young people want action, and I thank Deputy Young for addressing those issues in his opening speech. I agree with him, it is a very poignant number of points that he made there and we must, must listen to them. We must understand the real cost of this change. Short-term costs can have long-term benefits way beyond the good headlines. Jersey can be a beacon for future economies and societies. I will read one section from the sustainable finance section of the report: “We want there to be a Jersey standard which must be met by any financial company that wants to operate from the Island and which will be a prestigious thing to aspire to for any financial company. The standards should require companies to adopt all-round sustainable behaviour and should encourage transparency.” Those words are very poignant for an economy based so much on finance and investment. There are other issues. Efficient homes cut social security costs, although so does a high wage and high-skill economy and a notion that for some - how do I address this politely? - the notion that some come out with, and it has been in the newspapers recently, articles which I simply was amazed by, that this issue is not worth it because it will bankrupt us. Well I disagree completely. Leaving our society with old technology, unprepared for the changes we will see and shirking our moral duty does nothing for our lives and those of future generations. That will bankrupt us both morally and financially. I want to raise one key concern here, as we look to ways to fund a sustainable economy, it must not be at the expense of public services, the first area to take the brunt of any economic chop. Public services have proved their value in the COVID epidemic and how essential they are to the quality of our lives. Instead, let us re-evaluate our capital spend and look at where the real wealth sits in our economy. In the days of carbon neutrality we must set ourselves a challenging target. 2030 leads the way and every year beyond this we remain part of the problem, we make the situation worse, however small, it counts. I am a member of the C.P.A. (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) Climate Change Work Group, working with members from across the world. Small islands have a big voice and we must use it. The group is feeding into C.O.P.26 and there is a youth section which is feeding into C.O.P.26, which I would like to see young people on the Island involved with. These voices are so important. What it does, it puts a context that we may be a small Island but we are not alone and that impact is seen anywhere in the world and we must remember that. I would like to suggest emergency funding of the same type that we had for COVID but this emergency funding will be directed to change our economy, our community and the facilities that we have to improve people’s lives and to long-term proof our Island against these changes and also lead the way in lowering and then removing our impact on climate change. This is about vision, it is about a new deal for Jersey, one that we can be proud of and secures our Island for many years to come while enabling us to lead the world in our response to climate change. That is what Reform Jersey wants to have and I hope we can work across this Assembly with others who have seen the need for the change I outline. This will require leadership from our politicians, let us not shirk our responsibility. I encourage people to get politically active and to vote, particularly young people, hold to account those speaking today. I will finish by saying this: let us listen to the Climate Change Assembly, to young people and the world community and play our part in combating a threat that is real for us all. Thank you.
I would just like to say a few words, I am not going to say very much, but it is a shame that the timing of this debate comes on a Friday afternoon after a long week at the end of the summer session when people are maybe not as engaged as they could be. There are only 41 Members in the debate today, I hope they are all listening, those that are here. This is really vital and we should really be up for this, not tired after a long week but, anyway, I will press on. We have to make progress here and I would go back to a stock phrase of: “The greatest problem for a good plan is a perfect plan.” Over the years, as Minister and as a States Member, I have come up against committed environmentalists in all walks of life, whether that is on biodiversity, whether it is listed buildings, whether it is looking after wild animals. I have always said to them, if they could just ease off a fraction, they stand so much more chance of getting much, much closer to their target than they will achieve if they insist on coming for the perfect plan. We do need to make progress here, it is absolutely vital, but what we cannot do, in my view, is set ourselves up to fail by putting up targets which are just not achievable. The young people said they want a thriving and prosperous future and why would they not say that? Absolutely, we all want that, and we have to be really careful in moving forward with these carbon targets that we manage to maintain that possibility because the last thing we want to do is to find that we do not have a future to get to. Transport and housing are, as we know, the 2 places we really have to focus on if we are going to achieve our targets. In the past, we have put a lot of money into insulating community buildings, and a lot of money into changing oil and gas boilers for electric and we have used the bylaws, and we have got to keep going with that.
We have got to put a new fund together to help with these structures which are old and difficult to insulate so that they can achieve less requirement for heating and we have got to get away from gas and oil heating. That is absolutely something we have got to do. Then to transport, of course we have got to set ourselves a target for getting rid of the internal combustion engine, but this is one of the things I would say to Members, in the citizens’ assembly they want Jersey to achieve a phased transition to all green transport with no registration of fossil fuel vehicles after 2025. I do have to say that I think that is a really tough nut to crack. We have a lot of serious challenges if we are going to do that. But something we can do is be more joined up in Government. I am just going to finish with this and let other people get on and say their bit. Something that infuriates me enormously is to have the Minister for the Environment stand up and quite rightly set ourselves targets for where we need to get, to be followed almost every time by the Minister for Infrastructure, who stands up and says: “No, no, no, no.” I would like the Minister for Infrastructure to get more joined up with the rest of us and I would like the Infrastructure Department and the Transport Department specifically to come up with the ... not to say no, to say: “Yes, we are going to go away and find a way of decarbonising the public transport system, of encouraging people, finding ways to get people on to it” so that every time we move around this Island we are doing that without burning any more carbon. It is not easy. We love our cars, but we could be doing so much more and doing so much better. My plea in the initial stages is to have some joined-up Government for once and get committed across all departments to this, not just the Environment Department but all departments, so whatever we do in Government from now on is set out and moving towards this carbon neutral future.
I am pleased to follow the previous speakers and I am coming, as most of the Members know, from the practical approaches. The project that we started in 2019, developed up to now, and now we are discussing a more detailed practical way forward. We all know that changes to our local climate change strategy and our local environmental legislation are inevitable, unavoidable. We agreed on it. We will all, for example, be forced at some point to change to electric cars because the manufacturers will stop petrol and diesel vehicles at some point in the rest of the world and it will be difficult to find them. We need to anticipate these stages and changes and start working towards the smooth transition to new technologies and new practices now. There will be many other global environmental saving initiatives and again we will be unable to do anything other than change our local strategy and adjust our legislation to follow. What I would like to avoid is that if we will leave all these changes to the last minute there will be a dramatic impact and huge amounts of money spent on infrastructure and our general public and local businesses will suffer disproportionately because of the sudden and dramatic changes imposed upon them. The plastic legislation that we adopted this sitting was an important change, and yet it had very little impact on the infrastructure and a very low cost to the general public, to the businesses and to the government coffers. It has taken a long time to get through and in total it would take 30 months to be introduced, 2 and a half years. This worries me because I see we need to be able to make a lot of incremental environmental changes without enforcing them in one go and it will not be good for anyone. So, it is important that we will not delay the legislation, we will not delay the changes and it will not be slower than other parts of the world. One of the reasons is to avoid Jersey being used as a dumping ground for machinery that it is illegal to sell elsewhere, polluting fabrics, toxic building materials or any other outdated and possibly cheap things that will end up costing us much more in the long run and we will probably struggle to dispose of them eventually. We do not want to become an environmental third world, and to not do this we need to lead the way. This is where I come to the schedule. In my opinion, it is extremely important to have a schedule in place, a framework, a roadmap as the Minister quoted, which clearly publishes to the public what the stages are to achieve our initiative, to achieve our objectives going forward. I do not want to see, for example, if I fit an oil-fired boiler with a 20-year span 2 years before we made ... in 2 years the legislation stops it and it means that I did not have any warning. Basically, the people will come back and justify asking 20 years’ delay in enforcement of this ban. If I would have 10 years or 5 years’ warning that this will come and this legislation will be adopted and this regulation will be adopted, I can adjust. People need as long a warning as possible to be able to adapt. The longer we leave these changes, the faster we eventually do them, it will be a more difficult and expensive way for all of us, for the public and for the Government and for the businesses. This is what I am coming to, the potential, the biggest problem. It is our responsibility as an Assembly to set a schedule, to set a framework, to stick with it so the multiple laws, guidance, regulations are not rushed through at the last minute. We are prepared and impose them as a schedule. I do sometimes have a worry that the current Assembly is not dynamic enough and I hope we can catch up. Most of what needs to be done has already been established. We do not need to get into a series of consultations and reviews. There is lots of material available, lots of knowledge available around even the Commonwealth world and already implemented. So, just let us get on with it. We will plan, we will follow the plan and we might not achieve everything but we will achieve as much as we can and let Jersey lead the way in climate changes.
There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest challenges for now for our future and to create a bright, sustainable future for our young. I get it. However, a little bit of perspective. India currently generates 79.8 per cent of their power through fossil energy. Indeed, they are still commissioning coal-based power plants to generate 50,000 megawatts of power, and that will continue. That investment will continue up until 2027. In fact, India’s industrial economy is currently based on coal and this is to support the huge number, 1.2 billion approximately, of citizens. Can we say the U.S. (United States) and China are any better? The reality of it is that we are a very insignificant player. Climate change is not a micro climate situation. How much will we really have to spend to get out of it? Could it be a year’s G.D.P. (gross domestic product)? Could it be as much as our hospital budget? However, rest assured - before anybody is shouting at me; it is a shame we cannot see people in the Chamber with their reactions - we must play our part and I get that. So, I have an idea for an investment. I do not know, we see it every day, we talk about it every day, about how joyous it is to live in this Island, and one of the great things we are surrounded by is the sea and one of the greatest powers of all is the tide. We must look to harnessing that power. Now, this is not me having a little bit of a pipedream. I have done some research into this and I have engaged with people that understand this subject. I am taking it seriously and working with officers within the Government now to try and proceed this. But my research has told me that the technology today - we will call it technology, we can call it innovation, we can call it a raise, whatever you want - can support up to 175,000 people, a population of 175,000 people. That is the Channel Islands. So then everybody talks about the cost. Now, currently it is estimated that after the investment you obviously have to amortise that over probably quite a significant period of time, I do not have that detail yet, but I have been assured it can be delivered at 10p per kilowatt hour. Now, what is a kilowatt hour? It is the unit that you have on your electricity bill. Mine currently is sitting at 15.68. That is what we pay Jersey Electricity for our electricity, and it is a subject I am quite familiar with. But what is most relevant is how much we pay France for that so-called nuclear power. It is not all nuclear but the majority of it is nuclear. We pay 6p, so we are not far off today potentially achieving an equitable price to pay the French for electricity as to have our own power. Now, as all innovation happens and this will take up around the world, the price will come down. So the joy of such technology is it is modular. You do not have to go out today and invest in the whole of the Island. You can build up the arrays and it can be added to grow. One of the great things about the tide is unlike the sun and the wind it is totally predictable. It does not work better in the winter or in the summer, for the sake of argument. So if we invest in this, and admittedly a lot of work needs to be done, we could have 100 per cent zero carbon neutral power throughout certainly Jersey and the Channel Islands. We can be self-sufficient, totally self-sufficient. We can no longer have that admittedly rather idle threat from France to withdraw our electricity supply if we did not let them fish in our seas. It is an investment in perpetuity. If we are talking about a bright, sustainable future for our children, it is an investment in perpetuity. What is not to like? What could be better for our youth? Another afterthought, by the way, is we can also generate through this technology clean hydrogen, which can be used for road and maritime use. That is from fishing boats to cruise liners. That could be an industry for us to help swell our coffers. So what we have, if we were to look at this, we could have our own carbon neutral zero power and then we take total control as to what we do with that power. So all the other initiatives about how do we power electric cars, how do we heat our homes, is all within our own control. I just say let us look at it. Let us explore it seriously. It will be a big, brave investment. I am not saying it is going to work now. I have not done enough research to recommend it, but I am saying let us look at it. Let us be open-minded to it. Let us look at it because the benefits could be absolutely huge.
I want to thank the Minister for holding this in-committee debate today. Something that I want to touch on is about the climate conversation that has been facilitated by the Minister because I think that has been particularly effective, even more so than some other campaigns that Government have run.
Because I have seen it reaching my peers and reaching young people and I think the methods that have been used there have been really innovative and have been really effective so far. They have been light-hearted, like some of the things that we had ... I think people were knitting scarves and tying them around the cows at West’s Centre, and there was a code on there that you could scan to go online and find out more about the climate conversation in Jersey. Things like that and the use of social media: brilliant. I want to ask the Minister if that is going to continue or whether that was just leading up to the report because I do think it should continue. But what I also want to say today is in taking the report as a whole and taking all of the recommendations that have been delivered to us, obviously we have decisions to make and we have policies and legislation that we as a Parliament will need to put in place, but also I think what we need to be thinking about is behaviour change among the population. Looking at behaviour change from a psychological perspective, attitude change comes before behaviour change. This is why the climate conversation and comms and campaigning around this from Government and messaging from Government is going to be really critical in us being successful in making our Island carbon neutral. I have been on a journey myself because I think probably a couple of years ago even, maybe 2 or 3 years ago, I still had not really realised myself the scale of this emergency. I think we have all as an Island and as a global population recently been on a journey to understanding the scale of the danger that is approaching us and approaching our descendants. When I used to read my daily newspaper, I would often skip over some of those really alarming articles about climate change and the reason for that is because as human beings we find it really difficult to contemplate our own demise. If we were constantly worrying about things that could hurt us or ways that we could injure ourselves, we would never be able to function from day to day, so there is a mechanism within our cognition that stops us thinking about things that might harm us. Of course, a potential global catastrophe, if we were really considering that every day and worrying about how we were going to fix it, then it might be quite difficult to function. So, it does take a bit of a leap in thinking for people to comprehend that this is an emergency and for that attitude change to happen within individuals and within our population, which can then lead to behaviour change. So what I would like to say to the Minister is I think we need to continue partly with the light-hearted approach and using the social media and making it engaging, but I also think we need to be frank with our population. I might put a link in the chat for Members to view this article that I am quoting from because it is an article that I noticed in the news a while ago. Sorry, I am just finding my notes again. It is a research article by a group of scientists mainly from Australia and the U.S., from Stanford and other respected institutions. It is really worth a read, I think, alongside some of the materials that we have today to listen to. Because it talks about this optimism bias, which I have just spoken about, but it says that ... hang on, let me just find the part that I wanted to quote to you. That is the conclusions. Sorry, I am just scrolling up because there was a part that I really wanted to read out to Members. So they are talking about how even the scientists have struggled to understand the severity of this problem. I wish I could find it, sorry. Anyway, Members can have a look at that. It takes us through this difficulty in understanding the severity of it and why we must do that, and there is also a part about the political leadership and issues around democracy and what types of leadership we will need to solve this problem. So, I hope that the Minister might read that article and look at that research and maybe have that discussion with the Comms Unit and look at the work that has already been done around the climate conversation and just think about how we can ... without scaring people too much because we do not want to alarm people but we do want to be frank with people. I think we need to be frank with people so that they can reflect themselves and reflect on their own lives and make sensible and responsible decisions about their lifestyles and the action that they can take to help us all together on this journey to carbon neutral. Just before I finish, I wanted to mention one of the recommendations, to zero in on one of them, which was about the different ways of travelling around the Island. I wanted to highlight some of the work that is being done in St. Saviour around this because we have a safer routes to school plan. It is shared responsibility between Government and Parish and our Constable and Roads Committee have made such great progress with it this term. I am really starting to hear from my parishioners that they are enjoying being able to walk to school, and that is something that happens every day, does it not, for lots of people, that walk? It has a huge, positive impact not just on the environment of leaving the car at home but also on the well-being of our children. So, for anyone who is not convinced about these measures that we must take, I think it is also important to remember that, yes, it is to have a positive impact down the road and for the long term and it might require some short-term sacrifice so that we can prevent catastrophe, essentially, but also there are positive outcomes immediately in terms of well-being for our children and for adults on the Island. So I hope that work can continue in my Parish and in others. I will finish there, but just to thank the Minister for bringing the in-committee debate today and I am interested in listening to all of the speeches.
Firstly, I would like to echo colleagues and take the opportunity to personally thank Islanders who have committed their time and efforts to participate in the citizens’ assembly. This has certainly been an innovative and ground-breaking participatory democracy undertaking, which as an Island we should be proud of. It was an intense time of learning and discussion, which has resulted in the detailed and thoughtful recommendations we have now received. They have spoken clearly and we should reflect carefully on what they have said to us. These recommendations further support ongoing work this Assembly agreed should be carried out to build the evidence base that will underpin our strategic sustainable transport policy. The 4 rapid analysis plans are being worked on currently and are focusing on walking and cycling, mobility as a service, car parking review and a bus review in time to tender the new contract. The citizens’ assembly and their recommendations we are debating today are very helpful alongside this work and I believe they will help strengthen our commitment to a fair and just transition to achieve carbon neutrality. We have already agreed this by the Assembly for decarbonising our transport and moving wherever possible to more sustainable transport options through the S.T.P. (Sustainable Transport Policy). The citizens’ assembly have examined extensive evidence in their dedicated transport sessions and have set us a challenge with the ambitious timeline, for example, banning the registration of new hydrocarbon vehicles by 2025. If we were to adopt this particular option, we would be doing so 5-plus years ahead of the U.K. (United Kingdom), which undoubtedly creates some challenges. But the statement we have heard from the Youth Parliament challenges back on this particular date, demonstrating it is difficult to achieve consensus on some of these far-reaching policies. I welcome the opportunity today to hear the Assembly’s reactions on the transport recommendations. They will be helpful to me as I develop sustainable transport policies that will decarbonise our fleet as well as deliver the other objectives of the sustainable transport plan. I will listen carefully to what other Members think and I am interested in their thoughts about how we achieve our carbon neutrality goals. I appreciate the whole document, obviously with special reference to transport. We are listening to the people of Jersey. Recommendation 2, transportation to low carbon by 2030, ambitious, and I think banning registration of petrol and diesel personal and commercial from 2025, with the best will in the world that is 3½ years away, so that would be a very, very tough ask. In reply to the Deputy of St. Martin, we are not the no-no department, we have embraced future technologies. We have charging points in all our multistorey car parks. Some Parishes and private operators are installing their own. We have cycle paths, cycle stands, biodiesels being encouraged, green petrol on its way, safer routes to schools. We have recently done Bagatelle Lane safer route to school, the Parish of St. Saviour is engaging in one for Bel Air Lane, so this is all helping our carbon neutrality. As I say, I will listen very, very carefully to what fellow Members think about the way we are going, but we have clearly embraced what is happening in the world. I do not know if we can get too far ahead of the U.K. I have always stated that I would like to see a stop on petrol and diesel vehicles just slightly ahead of the U.K. so that we do not become a dumping ground for all the vehicles that they cannot sell. But 2025, it is too ambitious but the actual sentiments behind it I am all in favour of and I delight in waiting for the responses of fellow Members.
A couple of comments. One; well proposed, Deputy Gardiner. I shall now, among my joy, this morning employ and play Cassandra to your optimism. In the meantime I would mention to Deputy Huelin that the maintenance cost of sea-submerged gear is pretty ferocious, so I suggest you enquire about new components, perhaps graphene. Deputy Doublet, I would ask that you look at the final speech of President Eisenhower of the dangers of allowing the scientific elite to take over areas of public policy. Just so my colleagues understand my position, I am steeped in science, having a degree in electrical engineering, membership of the Institution of Technology and an M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) from Columbia, a course which is full of little titbits that engineers find useful. So when I started finding the Michael Mann East Anglia gang starting to plot among themselves and wanting to get rid of the middle-age warm period to make the facts fit the graph rather than the graphs fit the facts, I became curious. It sounded as if somebody was trying to rewrite history. Like Lord Lawson, I realise there is a difference between environmentalism and climatism, rather like Prince Philip did not agree with the Prince of Wales, so I do have a bit of prerogative there. I am an environmentalist rather than a climatist. I am happy to argue the science but my points today are economic. What does upset me is the insistence of impoverishing the Island at the same time that we must start making provision for coping with the order of £1.4 billion, if not more, for the cost of the new hospital.
We have other large capital projects such as the new building for the Government, and with net zero we are proposing the standard of living of all Islanders be cut, with the harder effect on Islanders on low incomes. Can we just approach all this thing with a bit more of a business-like approach? The use of heat pumps is a heating method, not as efficient as oil and gas. The change to electric cars at current prices will take away freedom of movement, while the cost of travel will reduce the possibility of travel. In the meantime, the J.E.C. (Jersey Electricity Company) will prosper just as families are being reduced to fuel poverty. It is not just a question of providing subsidies to low-income families. For Deputy Ward’s information, 25,000 oldies like me, which he might like - no, I am sorry, I am being unkind - will die in a cold winter as opposed to 2,500 in a warm year. As for companies and so on that he talks about where the standards should be held up and ethical, that is where all good operations operate. But the other thing about things like climate change, it is the ability to exert more control of the population. Before I depress you all totally, can I ask for the estimates of the cost of net zero? Can we really ask anyone to make meaningful choices if they do not know the options they face? I ask the Minister to prepare an outline business case and to request this outline business case as clear as that for the hospital so we can see the effect of the net zero proposal on the average Islander and our investors, the taxpayers, will understand the full implications of this expenditure. If we are going to be business-like, as Deputy Gardiner suggests, then we should be approaching it on a business-like basis and at least know what we are putting our head in the noose for. So, please can at least we have that?
I am going to be quite brief and the reason is that there are far more people, far more Members, who are much more qualified than I am in dealing in this field. But what I do want to say is that I for one have recognised the need for urgent action to combat climate change, which is already causing extreme conditions throughout the world. Over the last week we have seen the fires that are raging in Oregon and in British Columbia and California, which are caused by what is called a heat dome over that part of the world. The pollution from those fires has extended across the United States so that New York is having its worst atmospherics and pollution caused by the fire. If we look at Germany in the last week or so, we have seen the flooding that has occurred, where they had a month’s rain in one day. You can look at Henan in China, where the long-term rainfall is 640 millimetres ... sorry, I have been distracted. I will go back to it. So in Henan in China, the annual long-term rainfall is 644 millimetres. In a 24-hour period they had 552 millimetres, and after 72 hours it was 617 millimetres. So the point I am trying to make is that is just that. We are getting evidence from Antarctica about the effect of the climate and some geological things happening under the continent that are causing the glaciers to melt and break up. We already know that the Greenland ice cap is melting. All these things are going to have an impact not only on putting more water into the oceans, which will cause sea levels to rise, but also, for example, the effect on temperature in the oceans. Now, we have a very mild climate compared to many places in the world where it is more extreme, largely because of the Gulf Stream. But the melting of the polar ice caps in the Arctic could affect the temperature and the direction and flow of the Gulf Stream. So we know these things are going on. Yes, I know people - and people who were interrupting me in the chat - do not accept it all, but the truth of the matter is we are going through major events and we are going to be affected by them. Now, I am not one of these people who says we are just a miniscule part of the world and anything that we do will not have any impact. We all live on this small planet. We have not been fortunate to go into space and look back on the earth and realise how small it is, the whole cosmos, but the point is every one of us has the responsibility, whether it be doing away with single-use plastic bags, preventing food waste. We have to get into this mindset. Every one of us as parents want the best for our children and the way that we have behaved over the years and have not dealt with these issues and have been wasteful is that we are denying them a future. I do not want to leave this planet having left it in a worse state than it was when I came into the world. Now, let me just mention one other thing, too. We talk about ... in fact, it was Deputy Huelin who mentioned about using tidal energy. Yes, let us review it. We should be looking at all alternative energy measures. I personally am upset because I went to Ministers I think it was 2 months ago. I was approached by a businessman who is very much involved in drilling technology, and he wanted to have a meeting with the Government to talk about new technologies coming in which could reduce substantially our cost and dependence on even electricity from France. What he was proposing was geothermal energy, and the big problem with being on a rock of granite is that most drill bits cannot cut through it. There have been changes in technology which can make it more effective and more cost effective and for relatively little sums in the scheme of things they could bore down something like 15,000 or 20,000 feet and tap into the heat under this Island and use it to generate electricity. Now, why, for example, have Ministers not taken this up? I do not know whether it is feasible. We need to do a full technical study on it, but we have not even had an initial meeting after about 2 months. So if we act at this glacial pace, we will never get any change. We will not be able to consider all the alternatives. So, let me just say at this particular point in time I will support all reasonable measures to deal with this climate emergency, but I do feel that we have to act not in a punitive way on the population of this Island. We have to do it in a considered way. Yes, it will be carrot and stick, but we have to take people with us. Not only that, whether we spend money on some of the initiatives that are being proposed, we are going to have to spend an awful lot of money on increasing our seawalls and taking other mitigation measures to stop the effects of global warming. Even if we do nothing to reduce global warming we are going to have to spend a fortune trying to deal with the pressures that we are going to face over the next few years. I will just say this again. Senator Ferguson mentioned economics. I have a background in economics and I know the cost of things. We get into extreme positions in the States. One of the things that really infuriates me is we say we should be like a Jersey housewife who manages her income and expenditure and we should not spend in excess of our income. People do not buy houses like that and you do not pay for infrastructure like that. Unless you want to tax people, you can over a period of years borrow money, especially in these times where interest rates are phenomenally low, to pay for things that we need to do. So we are going to have to pay a fortune and people are either going to get taxed to the extreme or we borrow or we take other initiatives. But all those people who say they are going to balance the books and we are going to cut down on profligate Government spending, just realise what is coming down the road. We are going to have to spend an awful lot of money on infrastructure whether you like it or not. I will leave it at that, and going forward I will support all reasonable climate change initiatives and oppose those who are not taking this measure seriously.
I would just like to speak very briefly from a Parish perspective to say about how we in St. Lawrence are looking towards reducing our own carbon footprint. First of all, those who have read the citizens’ assembly report will have noted that one of the recommendations was that Parishes or certainly Constables call Assemblies or Parish meetings. What I have done to facilitate that is to make contact with a parishioner who was part of the citizens’ assembly and we have agreed that we will meet shortly to plan how we want to moderate and facilitate that meeting, which will go ahead late in the summer. So that is the first recommendation from the citizens’ assembly that I will be managing. So, how will we look to manage those initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint? The Minister for Infrastructure mentioned how Parishes are installing electric vehicle charging points where they can and we have already done that in our Moignard Liberation Garden, quick wins that Parishes can come up with and certainly I know a number of us have already delivered that in co-operation with Jersey Electricity. Another way that we are working with Jersey Electricity is to deliver what is known as the Parish Earth Partnership. That is where all Parishes have agreed that we will find somewhere in our Parish an area of potentially the size of 2 tennis courts where we will plant what is known as a microforest. I believe St. Clement have already found and probably not planted yet but they are the leading Parish for this partnership project. So what is the Parish Earth Partnership project? It is where Jersey Electricity have undertaken to put towards each Parish a maximum of £5,000 which we can utilise towards the cost of buying young trees and planting them to create a very dense planting scheme which reduces carbon. It began in Japan I believe in the 1970s and has been adopted across the globe and is proving to be a very effective way of reducing carbon emissions.
So, all Parishes have signed up to this. We are working hard to identify sites. We wrote to the Minister for the Environment recently asking whether he would be amenable to waiving the very costly planning fees that we will all probably have to face as we apply to go through the planning process, as many of us will have to ... well, we will all have to apply for planning permission to plant our micro forests. I was very pleased to receive a letter back from the Minister for Planning only a couple of weeks ago to say that he supports the work of the Parish Constables in delivering the Parish Earth Partnership and he is prepared to waive 100 per cent of the fees of the planning process for these projects. That is part of joined-up government. It is part of the goodwill of the Minister for Planning, showing that he is supporting us as we work towards reducing carbon emissions. That is what the whole Assembly signed up to do as we agreed that we would reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and we will do it in different ways. St. Lawrence, as part of the fiscal stimulus strategy, applied for a very small part of the £50 million that was available. Again, we hoped that our project to reduce oil consumption by getting rid of outdated oil heating in 2 of our buildings would be acceptable as part of the very timely strategy, but from £50 million worth of public money that was available, very sadly the application for less than £20,000 worth was rejected. That comes back to what Deputy Luce was talking about earlier when he spoke about joined-up Government and he mentioned in his speech reducing or getting rid of outdated fossil fuels and going to electrical heating. It does bother me that something as basic as a Parish trying to do something like that to reduce carbon output was rejected. It makes me spit feathers to think that we applied for something that to my mind fitted every aspect of what the fiscal stimulus fund was trying to achieve - it was targeted, it was timely and it had an environmental benefit - and yet it was completely rejected and yet we know that there are still funds available. I would urge the Minister for Treasury and Resources to think about joined-up Government, think about what this Assembly signed up to and think about less than £20,000 being requested to go towards achieving our goals. It was disappointing - very, very disappointing - when I think about all the other projects that received many millions of pounds from the fiscal stimulus fund and were certainly not timely and probably did not have a positive environmental impact. I think I will leave it there but I am grateful, as are the other Constables, to the Minister for the Environment for supporting our Parish Earth Partnership and it is something that when we have planted the young trees all our parishioners can see the microforest growing very quickly. Densely planted forests of this type grow far more quickly and in 20 or 30 years each Parish will have a very worthwhile forest producing all the benefits that we need to help us reduce carbon in the Island.
I am pleased to follow my fellow Parish Constable with regard to this. I have had in St. Brelade for a year or so now a climate working group who have been very successful in identifying, shall we say, the various low-hanging fruit that could be taken to contribute to the process of addressing this climate emergency. We have been recycling for many years now in the Parish. We have taken a different approach to ground maintenance. We are doing energy audits. We have changed street lighting. We are looking at replacing various rooms of Parish properties to retain energy or conserve energy within. But moving on to my hat of the chair of the Infrastructure, Housing and Environment group, we have been pleased to be involved with the citizens’ panel and we note that citizens’ panels are a new tool that can assist in policy formation in Jersey. However, it is apparent that it is, as the Minister has suggested, a really innovative form of democracy. States Members are well used to absorbing large volumes of information in limited timeframes in order to inform their decisions, so I have the utmost respect for those on the panel that immersed themselves in the subject and came up with clear and concise recommendations on the key issues. We were pleased to have the opportunity to observe several of the meetings and understand the input from presenters and the facilitators. The latter, of course, have the ability to draw out opinion from participants in a balanced way, which in turn contributed towards the conclusions. My panel recognises that the citizens’ assembly has suggested a Scrutiny review be taken of the Government’s response to their recommendations. We believe that this is the right approach to follow as the outcome of that will be dependent on whether the citizens’ assembly recommendations are incorporated in the Minister’s carbon neutral roadmap. What I would like to see personally, as I think Deputy Higgins mentioned earlier, is more carrots, not sticks. We need less rhetoric. While we are drilled in much of the terminology used in this place, most people are not, so let proposals come in clear and simple language, please. We must consider those who simply cannot afford to align immediately with the aspirations outlined. I honestly think that the marketplace will provide the real direction and dictate the timescale, but we must keep abreast of that and be quick to embrace the changes as they are presented to us.
I just wanted to reflect back on how we have got to this point. Clearly, the influence of the citizens’ panel has been of great assistance to the Assembly but equally further back the findings of Future Jersey clearly identified that Islanders have a great level of care and appreciation for the beautiful environment in which we live and they want to participate and contribute to maintaining our beautiful environment locally but also, as we do on the global stage, participating in the effort that is required from every nation to reduce the impact of humans on the planet and prolong the planet’s healthy life. In order to do that, we need to take action on small levels but also on the larger scale as well. I have been really heartened to hear some of the interventions from fellow Members who have also spoken about the pragmatic ways in which we can respond to this challenge. Clearly, the citizens’ panel has set out a number of recommendations that we can grasp and run with in the next year. I hope to see the Council of Ministers and if not them, then colleagues bringing forward and, as the Constable of St. Lawrence has already said, putting into action those challenges that the citizens’ panel has laid down. We can, of course, on the macro level, set our goal for a sustainable finance centre and that would be world leading. I suggest that rather than, as some Members have suggested, that our response to a carbon neutral society could lead to the impoverishment of the Island, instead it could lead to a greater wealth for Islanders and for our contribution to the globe. Other Members spoke of a potential cut in the standard of living, but if we take these actions and really live them, it can, I would suggest, lead to a greater standard of living and a greater pleasure in the daily life of each and every one of us. For example, I can cite that the pleasure of cycling to work along the beautiful St. Aubin’s Bay is greatly preferable to sitting in a traffic jam and slowly edging the way into town. I think that is a way that leads to a better life. Not only is it more pleasurable, even in the rain, but also it helps the person who is doing the cycling improve their own physical health and well-being and what better way to start and end a day than a bit of self-care like that. Also by protecting our resources, rather than seeing the unsustainable demolition of perfectly good buildings, such as Cyril Le Marquand House, we do need to grapple with a more sustainable building practice to improve what we have, to, yes, make it more energy efficient, to heat it and light in a more sustainable way, but those things can save us money rather than costing us money and costing the earth in terms of aggregate and building materials. The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel brought an amendment to the last Government Plan, which suggested the reduction of G.S.T. (goods and services tax) on building materials that help to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. So I share the Constable of St. Lawrence’s frustration in the approach of the Assembly at that time to throw it out and even I think one Member suggested that it was just a way of giving perks to rich friends of ours, which I thought was a really disappointing way to look at something that is trying to live and set a new direction for the Island and deliver what we live as our own values in the respect of the environment. Everyone should be able to insulate their homes and take energy-efficient action that helps to contribute to the achievement of a carbon neutral future. So really my point is that there are a number of actions laid out by the citizens’ panel. There are a number of things that we as Members of this Assembly can contribute to changing the direction of the Island. It does not have to mean an impoverishment or a loss of the quality of life. It can mean an enrichment to our lives and our livelihood and greater well-being for one and all.
Please bear with me because I have got a speech in 2 parts here. The climate emergency is, as so many have rightly highlighted, the key existential challenge of this century. As with any other developed jurisdictions, we have a moral and social duty to prevent disaster. If we can only play a small part so be it, but by no means is that an excuse to do nothing, to sit back and let our neighbours do the job for us. Although we are a small Island, we have a long history of punching above our weight and this is exactly what we should do here. We should be an Island that inspires others, that embraces innovative solutions and leads the way in promoting a greener, cleaner lifestyle. We need to look at innovative citizen-focused ideas from other places. The citizens’ assembly on climate change gave us a clear insight into the excitement and readiness Islanders have and we need to continue this. A cleaner Island means a more engaged Island, one where civic engagement is expanded to maximise the input of all Islanders, across the States Assembly and the Parishes. I will come on to the Parishes later. Consider how the Danish island of Samsø has switched to entirely renewable wind-based energy through community investment and community ownership. It is an island where everybody has a stake in energy production. They own their wind and they own the electricity generated from that wind. If we embark on major renewable energy projects we should do it with full community investment and involvement. Those Islanders own the rewards. There is something called bicycle mayors, which I am not sure if anybody in the Assembly has heard of. I am not sure if it is of use, but as an example of this it could be taken from the bicycle mayor scheme championed by the Dutch non-profit BYCS, who work to campaign to increase bike travel and infrastructure in urban areas. Their mayoral scheme is designed to accelerate changes by uniting citizens to take action and create a global network of changemakers to promote sustainable transport. As of February 2021, there are 109 mayors in 105 cities across 34 countries, including Amsterdam, London, Dublin, Mumbai and Lima. Granted Jersey does not have a city, but with such a rapidly growing cycling culture on the Island, perhaps it is time to increase civic engagement through a mechanism like this to further drive change. On the subject of agriculture, we look at our buildings and decide on how to maximise the use of green space; how do we use our agricultural heritage to look to the future? Agriculture is an industry at the heart of Jersey’s identity, so perhaps this is where we should be looking to encourage Islanders to take pride in preserving and enhancing our natural environment and green spaces. Many settlements are looking at options of rewilding, so what should we do? I note in the report of the citizens’ assembly that this is an area where they were unable to explore but perhaps we should look at giving future sight towards teaching and encouraging Islanders to grow their own food, both at home and, if initiatives such as the urban green-blue grids in the Netherlands are of any indication, at work. This comes under my second part. As a Constable of a Parish who is very keen to enhance and react to the climate emergency, we are scheduling a climate Parish Assembly in September, October and I was really pleased with what my fellow Constable, the Constable of St. Lawrence, said. We also applied to the fiscal stimulus fund and our bid was targeted and timely and part of it was take out the old boiler room at the church and replace it with electric heating and try and get rid of some of the fossil foils. Our application also focused on conservation of the historic building, energy management, preservation, community and well-being, all which would help to enhance what the Island is trying to focus on. We also were turned down. I would really, really urge the Minister for Treasury and Resources and her department, and maybe the Chief Minister and C.O.M. (Council of Ministers), to look again at what the Parishes have been asking. We are trying really hard to do what we can but we cannot do all this through ratepayers’ money. I had my Rates Assembly last night and I was happy that we have managed to keep the rate the same for the third year running, having put it up a couple of years ago to do a lot of other projects in the Parish. So the fiscal stimulus fund would be very well spent in the Parishes. We are also supporting the Parish Earth project. We have plans for wetlands area on our fantastic village green. We are undertaking energy audits. We hardly have any street lighting in St. Martin and I know that some people joke about St. Martin being the dark Parish, but I am really proud of that, that we hardly have any. I think our electricity bill for our street lighting is about £500 a year. We have a very good partnership with the headmistress in the school and children are all encouraged to walk or cycle to school when they can and we do have a lot of children cycling. As I say, we are scheduling a climate Parish Assembly in September, October, and I would welcome any ideas from anyone to help the Parish to react to the climate emergency.
I would like to start by thanking the members of the citizens’ assembly for their report and, quite frankly, I find it thought provoking, challenging in many instances, with some very good recommendations. I really do thank them for that piece of work and it has helped us as politicians to focus on going forward. I did read in the report that some felt empowered by the process and I think that is important as well. As a politician, we get the sense of empowerment because we can make a difference and I think that is the whole point, that we really do need to make a difference in this world if we are going to tackle this climate emergency that we have declared. I have noted that the U.S. climate envoy, John Kerry, has recently called on China to increase the speed and depth of its efforts to cut carbon. It is so desperately needed. China is one of the biggest producers of carbon. Apparently if they do not do anything or do not achieve the targets that the world needs, the rest of the world, by 2035 or 2040, are going to have to be zero carbon just to keep temperatures within the ranges going forward. I think it is 1.5 degrees increase that we are trying to keep it within. One has got to ask in the grand scheme of things ... and when you look - and I think Deputy Higgins touched on it earlier - at floods in Germany and throughout Europe, China massive floods, people sadly losing their lives through this; in U.S.A., tinderboxes, a heatwave like they have never experienced. I do not know what more evidence we need that things are desperately wrong. One has got to ask, well, Jersey 9 by 5, what difference can we make? For me, I think it is this concept that we can lead by example. We are only a small jurisdiction but if we lead by example and if other small jurisdictions around the world join us and collectively we all do something and make that difference, I think that is empowering as well. So, as I say, we are small but we can make a difference and I think that is so important. I listened interestingly to a few speeches and I totally agree, we are really blessed where we are geographically. We have excellent tidal ranges; there are severe currents all around the Channel Islands. Jersey leans slightly to the south, so it is excellent for solar generation. We have got the tidal generation as well and we are blessed with westerly winds. We should be pretty much totally self-sufficient in our energy requirements. Sadly, following recent events, we really should be considering, even from the point of view of Island security, going totally self-sufficient in electricity generation, even if that is collaboratively with the other islands, if we can all join together. I do understand the J.E.C. a few years ago had put together a plan for a windfarm just off our shores but at the time it was felt too expensive and obviously we could get very competitively priced electricity with our link to France, but circumstances have changed. I think the price of the technology has decreased somewhat and I think really if we are going to do something positive here we should be looking at putting together a scheme with our neighbours to go fully electric sufficient within 5 years, and why not? I think that is what this is all about. I think we really have got to adopt a “we can” attitude and not put any obstacles in our way. There are going to be, I think, natural spinoffs from trying to do what we are doing. There are going to be a few of the recommendations that I will touch on in a second, which I think make total sense. I think just from the point of view of anxiety levels, it is so important to be seen and for all of us trying to do our bit for this world crisis going forward, and if we do not we are just going to be rudderless. We are going to feel helpless and that is not good. It is not good for the Island psyche. I understand there are going to be cost implications and, without doubt, I think the less well-off in our society will feel the pinch on this. I think that is something we have to address as politicians going forward. I think it is the wealthier among us that should pick up more of the burden. That is touched on in the report and they talk about fair transition. Absolutely, we do not want regressive taxes. If we put up petrol prices, the mums and dads who are struggling to put food in their children’s mouths are going to struggle to get them to school and so on due to the high cost of fuel. So there are lots of things to consider going forward, but it is not going to be easy. I know the citizens’ panel appreciate that the road ahead is going to be challenging, extremely challenging. It is extremely complex as well. One of the first recommendations was public transport and I know Deputy Ward has been trying his best to bring about change on this side of things. Is 2025 too soon to try and decarbonise our public transport? What I would like between now and then is a report from the Minister to outline the cost of doing that. What are the implications? Plainly there is a fair old inventory of buses that would have to go, but I want to understand the cost of doing that and then we can make an informed decision. Guernsey own an airline. It has not been profitable, let us face it, and I am sure they regret in many ways going that route, but why do we not consider taking over the bus service? If we are going to realistically deliver public transport then the public should be in ownership and control of that bus service. There is a provoking one for the Minister. Perhaps he would like to look at the cost implications of that as well. Cycling and walking, absolutely, that should be the first preference for us all. I will often try, if there is a Parish meeting, to walk down and walk back. It is a few miles there and back, it is good for my health and it is good for the environment. We are blessed in the Parish. We have a wonderful facility, the Railway Walk, but then again we have a Minister that neglects this area and that is something I hope to address in the next 9 months before the election. We have got to look after our infrastructure. We have paths and the like around the Island. So I think I will probably leave it there for the time being but, as I say, the time ahead is challenging. We have got to do something. I think we have got to be positive and I think it will be good for all if we do.
It was interesting earlier to hear the Minister for Infrastructure because some months ago he stated that he fully supported RD100 renewable diesel, but the reality is we have not seen any real action on this. I remember writing an article on electric vehicles back in 2014 about how good they would be for Jersey and how good Jersey would be for electric vehicles, giving an opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their vehicles on the Island, and still I believe you cannot hire an electric vehicle from the airport when you arrive. One of the downsides for me of my election was the delay in me getting my own electric car, one with a range of almost 300 miles. I look forward to the day when I can get it. In 2016 I was fortunate enough to win a national award for green fleet of the year for small to medium fleets in the private sector for the work at Jersey Post. An award won not only for the introduction of electric vans and electric bikes but also for road safety and driver training, as well as vehicle tracking and telematics, leading to a 15 per cent reduction in fuel. That was a combination of better driving and less wasted mileage. We can train more people and I am pleased to see the initiative that is currently taking place to train people on safer driving because not only does it make the road safer, it also reduces the fuel that is used. In the last 3 years I have successfully introduced RD100 into 2 commercial fleets with good success. Despite paying 50 pence per litre more there are still commercial benefits to offering customers a greener solution. In fact, I had one global company who was interested in doing some joint promotion on the initiative they were so impressed. 50 pence a litre, though, is not really sustainable. Why do I pay 6 pence in environmental tax on my renewable diesel? The reason is I am lucky enough to be able to afford it. Many people are not able to. The benefits of renewable diesel are phenomenal. Removing the 6 pence would encourage more fleets and individuals to use this fuel, I am sure. I fully understand why LibertyBus would need to get dispensation from their engine manufacturer before they can use the fuel but why not a different approach, why has the Government not worked with the manufacturer to ensure LibertyBus get to use the fuel in a speedier manner and the manufacturer promotes the work that LibertyBus and the Government of Jersey are doing on the Island to reduce emissions. Deputy Doublet spoke about safe routes to school and if we invest in this area we reduce vehicles movements, perhaps fiscal stimulus could have been used to speed up work in this area or the recruitment of staff to do this work. I was delighted that on Wednesday parishioners of St. Ouen agreed to join the recycling schemes. St. John was the first Parish to introduce doorstop recycling and we are now promoting this again and we look forward to working with businesses to try and encourage them to recycle more. I urge the final Parishes to join in with a scheme of their own. At our rates meeting this year I explained that while it is costly to do recycling the more that we recycle the better value for money we get. We need to dispel some of the myths. There are still people who think that recycled paper and cardboard is burnt locally. It is not, it is sent away for recycling. Like my colleagues in St. Lawrence and St. Martin, we will also be holding an Assembly to look at how we can reduce our carbon emissions. Having heard from St. Lawrence and St. Martin, I would hope that the Minister for Treasury and Resources would consider using 5 or 10 per cent of the fiscal stimulus monies left to encourage Parish environmental schemes, perhaps on a pound- for-pound basis. In St. John other areas we are looking at include solar on the roof of our recreation centre and in addition to the J.E.C. initiative we hope ours can be used for the school as a forest school. We are also looking at largely community wood on the north coast. Carrot and stick has been mentioned a few times. Why do we pay G.S.T. on electric vehicles? Why not remove G.S.T. on electric vehicles for a 12-month period? LibertyBus in my opinion should be congratulated on the excellent work that they have done since they have been operator. The previous speaker spoke about Government running our bus services. I would say leave well alone. Let LibertyBus get on to run the bus service and let us have positive dialogue. I am keen to see a bus that runs from east to west, from Gorey to St. Brelade, linking up the northern Parishes and I hope to be able to persuade LibertyBus the financial benefits of that.
I will try not to be too long. I want to go back to my subject of joined-up Government. Some Members have raised a point and said: “What are we doing? Why have we never done stuff before?” but I just want to point out a few things to them. There was a proposition in my day to have a small but quite large windfarm at La Collette … sorry, when I say small and large, not many turbines but some powerful ones at La Collette. I know it might be unsightly for some people but it would certainly show that we are keen. That did not come to anything because joined-up Government did not work. I had a proposal … at 2 or 3 meetings I met with a person from Australia who wanted to talk to me about geothermal. Again I said to him: “I will find you a site at La Collette, you can drill your hole, prove to me that you can do this and that would be great.” Nothing came of it. I tried to get engagement with the large-scale manufacturers of electric vehicles in the day when we did not have many manufacturers. Renault was the one I particularly wanted to go to. The idea was that we do a deal with them, get them over here and put in as many electric vehicles as they want, use all the data, go away and use that data to take the market further. We could be a test bed Island, 100,000 people on a rock is a very attractive test bed for many scenarios. We are blessed with the connectivity we have with mobile phone technology and we should be looking at autonomous vehicles that run 24/7 so that people do not need to own a car, they can just call one up and it arrives. It may seem far-fetched but we have the connectivity here to again be a test bed Island for that moving forward. The real reason I wanted to talk - and I probably will not speak again - is to put something in front of States Members which is another project that came over my desk and I was hugely enthusiastic about. Most people might think I might be a bit bonkers but if we look 40 miles to south of us here we look to the Rance Barrage, which is technology that has been in place now for over 50 years, it does not fail, it works well, it is still working well, it is technology that is scaleable. A project that came over my desk was a project to put a barrage across St. Aubin Bay. Before Members think I have gone completely barking I would just mention this. If it was connected from the Noirmont Point to somewhere around the back of the harbour and had a turbines that we could create energy on a daily basis, the sun does not always shine, the wind does not always blow, but the tides will always go up and down. There is a double benefit to this barrage and that is the protection of our capital, St. Helier, the protection of the whole of the area of St. Aubin, right the way from Noirmont round to La Collette. We could have a fantastic facility inside which would be great for all things maritime. We could have a new harbour. We would not have to spend another penny on the problems we are going to get from rising sea levels which are a result of carbon in the atmosphere. There are some ways out of this. We have to be big and bold. That is a very, very, very big and bold idea but we must look at all aspects. It is wonderful the Parishes are coming forward with their own schemes. I do not know why they were not accepted. Everybody does their little bit, pennies build up into pounds but I say to Members there are some schemes out there, we have got to work together, we have to get more joined up and we can no longer have people come forward with good ideas like a couple of decent pylons at La Collette, like a scheme to try the geothermal at La Collette and be told no.
I too listened to the Youth Parliament and I found it utterly inspiring, honest and an appreciation of the urgency and practicality of the situation. Their passion was very apparent and it was good to hear. In contrast, I am sorry to have to say, we heard today from the Minister for Infrastructure who is key to this conversation and he spoke about plans, the carpark review, sustainable transport policies, the challenges, the overly ambitious aims and tough asks. May I suggest that instead of setting out the documents he is going to produce and the negativities, because we are away beyond that, he now needs to focus and tell us what he is going to achieve in the timescale allocated for this. I am appreciative of the Minister for the Environment allowing us to discuss this issue in this forum after the citizen’s report was produced but since the citizen’s report has been published, it would be good to hear from him if he has had any conversations, any discussions, any action plans with the J.E.C. and energy providers to make renewable energy more viable. He will be aware very well of the debate I brought forward about renewable energy and the many meetings we have had with the J.E.C. and looking into this, and I would like to hear from him now how his department are advancing renewable energy. I would also like to hear, and probably in conjunction with the Minister for Infrastructure, the Comité des Connétables and their Road Committees about providing safe cycling and pedestrian routes, commuter networks, around the Island. As the Comité will know, I had a little group, which included Senator Pallett and Senator Moore, and we took A4 maps to the Comité des Connétable probably a couple of years ago now and asked them to plot a network of safe commuter routes for pedestrians and cyclists around the Island. That was left with them because we felt that the easiest and cheapest way was to dedicate roads, lanes, around the Parishes so that we could provide a network for the people in the Parishes to come into town ... just to provide safe routes to encourage cycling and walking as Senator Moore alluded to earlier. I would like to hear the practicalities of this because, as I say, I think we have gone beyond the talking and the report writing. I would like to know what practical steps are in train so that we can achieve something. A roadmap has been asked for and if the Minister for the Environment could tell us how far advanced that roadmap is now with timescales so that the community can get behind this and look forward to changes being made. Sometimes they are impractical but if they understand the reasoning behind I think there will be buy in. The sooner we receive a roadmap we can debate that. I do not know if it has to be debated here but the sooner we can do that and get the community, the Parishes, the Island behind it I think we will all be pulling in the same direction. I would just like to end and agree with the point that Deputy Ward made about carbon offsets. I agree that this is something we can keep up our sleeve but only for the 11th minute of the 11th hour. What we have to do as a community is try and achieve what we have set out to achieve.
I was just thinking about the autonomous vehicles and the electric cars because, of course, I do not yet drive an electric vehicle but my current vehicles is nearing the end of its life so that is next on the cars. But, of course, we are also reminded that electric vehicles might not be the answer. I do not really know but I am constantly chastised for promoting electric vehicles because while they might be good for our environment here, they are causing problems elsewhere. I am also pleased that there are lots of new methods of combustion or propulsion being considered. The point I am leading to is the … well, autonomous vehicles, first of all, they would be interesting at a Parish Hall Inquiry, I am not sure who would represent the vehicle should there be a minor traffic infringement. Of course, I joke, but it would be absolutely fantastic if we can embrace that technology and Jersey is a perfect test bed Island. We do not, as other Members have mentioned, always embrace that. We have great opportunities and we have talks with some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious organisations and leaders in their fields but we do not get anything over the line. We should do because we are a perfect testing community. We are open-minded and I think we will embrace lots of new ideas where we do see successes, for example, the EV bike scheme. I think the Island has embraced that well. It can be very successful. Other Members have spoken about harnessing the sea. We know that enjoying one of the biggest tidal movements of anywhere in the world there is huge potential there but also a lot of the technology is not quite there yet. I am not sure whether we can keep waiting, surely we have to harness some of that sooner than later. Talking about the sea. I wanted to just talk briefly about the marine park propositions and how the designation of a marine park … and that is not just calling something a marine park and leaving it at that. That is putting in place the legislation to protect large areas of the sea. I know this is a very tricky situation and the Minister for External Relations and Financial Services and the Minister for the Environment will probably have their heads in their hands at the moment when I am talking about this, we are in committee, but if we do not do something quickly to protect large areas - I am talking about large areas of our coastal waters, 900 square kilometres has been suggested in an amendment to the Island Plan - then we are not going to be serious about our carbon aspirations because just by doing that in our marine environment and allowing our seagrass and our kelp beds to develop unmolested by unsustainable fishing practices then we are not going harness the huge carbon benefit that that can deliver us. By the way, I am not talking about ending the fishing industry, I am talking about changing it and if we do change … when I say “change it” I think we are probably looking at a smaller but more sustainable and more profitable fishing fleet, even if that means having to compensate some fishers whose practices might not be sustainable. I am completely against a continuation of heavy duty trawling and dredging that has to be stopped. It is pure vandalism of our seabed and it is destroying incredibly valuable habitats, potentially carbon rich habitats that can be nurtured and make a huge difference to our contribution. But, of course, if Members are so inclined or have nothing better to do then it is explained briefly in my amendment to the Island Plan. I would also urge Members to engage with the Blue Marine Foundation who we are working with, and especially their work in Lyme Regis and other areas around the world where they have done this and not only seen huge environmental improvements but just speak to the fishers on those areas that absolutely are staggered at the improvement to their fishing livelihoods. We are catching less fish, of course, but getting a better yield and in a much more sustainable way. Turning back to the report by the citizen’s panel, of course I think they very clearly highlighted the advantages and disadvantages. Of course as the Minister for Economic Development and Business I would be remiss not to mention those challenges. We are coming out of a hugely difficult trading time with Brexit and with the COVID pandemic. They have rightly highlighted potential challenges to supply chains, higher cost in training and retraining staff, costs of goods, costs to business. Equally, it has also highlighted that the sooner businesses and society embraces them then perhaps the lower the costs might be. That is one thing our department - of course I am ably supported by Deputies Morel and Raymond - should start looking at ways we can support businesses to make that change and to embrace the opportunity here. Of course many forward-thinking businesses are already doing it because it is a really good marketing opportunity for them. Consumers now are moving in great numbers, as are investors, institutional investors and private investors, into putting money into sustainable green environmentally friendly projects. We acknowledge that we have work to do there to promote that and I think we have to be prepared to put funds aside to assist businesses with transitional plans and making that move in the years ahead. Lots of opportunities, also lots of challenges but I think the real win for us is into being bold, being brave and harnessing not just the power of our marine environment but the actual environmental opportunities, the significant opportunities that we will get, if we are bold enough to make that move and protect large tranches of our marine environment. Thank you.
I feel that I may end up repeating myself from previous speeches in this area but there is no question, I believe Jersey can lead the way in terms of adapting to a sustainable way of living and a sustainable economic environment, which does not harm the wider environment. For me, I am committed to that. That is an important part of why I am here as a Deputy. But to do that we need to be very focused and we need to focus on those areas that are going to be effective in not just addressing climate change and reducing carbon emissions but those areas which bring environmental benefits as a whole. To be focused means to look at those areas where Jersey needs to change in order to reduce its carbon footprint. People will not like this but at the moment that means not focusing on renewable energy. The reason for that is it is because our current electricity supply is effectively decarbonised. In fact, a third of it is renewable energy already. The reasons for renewable energy, basically what I am saying is that climate change is not the driver for moving towards renewable energy. The driver for moving towards renewable energy in this Island is energy security but that is a different matter and that is not what we are here to talk about today. Our focus needs to be on those areas of our activities today which are driving carbon emissions. That means transport. I believe about a third of our emissions at the moment come from transport. I know we have heard speakers talk about sustainable transport, I completely agree, there is no question, we need to reduce petrol usage, diesel usage and that also means aircraft as well. You must not forget that the aircraft that service this Island on a daily basis are huge emitters of carbon and they are depositing it right up in the atmosphere where it does most damage. We definitely need to focus on reducing carbon polluting transport. There are huge benefits of doing that too. If we manage to not just switch to electric cars but switch to using fewer cars and cycling and walking more the benefits are enormous. We appreciate all of that. Transport is an area we absolutely need to focus on and we have not. Let us make that clear, so far we have not focused on it enough. The sustainable transport plan … well, there you go, the sustainable transport plan. Heating oil and gas usage. Now as far as energy is concerned that is where we need to focus. We need to reduce the use of heating oil and we need to reduce the use of gas. The easiest way to do that and the most cost-effective way to do that at the moment is to switch people to our current energy supplies because they decarbonised. That has been ongoing, people are moving away from the use of heating oil and gas. The Government has had a policy that is not to particularly encourage gas usage for a long time. It is not this Government’s policy, it has been that for a long time. Another area we need to look at is the construction sector. Now, I do not have the stats locally but globally the construction sector, cement in particular and the use of concrete in particular, emits 8 per cent of all carbon emissions. That makes them effectively, as an industry, the size of a country in terms of their carbon emissions. Obviously Jersey’s construction sector is a tiny percentage of those carbon emissions but it is a real polluter in terms of this Island and we need to ask the construction sector … it amazes me. To move to different ways of building, to use different materials, they have not so far and they consistently stick with using concrete and building in the same way that they built for most of my lifetime. Until we move away from that, the construction sector will be an important polluter as far as carbon is concerned. Of course, that then links also to population. At the end of the day, we have a growing population and as long as that population is growing this Island will almost certainly not meet its carbon targets. So we need to properly address - as people said before - our population issues and slow population growth. There is no question. Otherwise we can forget anything about this being a sustainable Island at some point in the future. The economy has obviously a huge role to play. I am a strong believer in the private sector being able to innovate, try new things and it is a force for change. It is a force for change that is far stronger than the Government is. It has been said a million times, Government is the enabler. It enables, it creates the playing field upon which the private sector can then move forward in its innovation. With that in mind, as I have said before, the Economic Development Department should be the Sustainable Economic Development Department. Everything the Economic Development Department does should be with a view to encouraging businesses which do not increase the whole wide environmental footprint and certainly not the carbon footprint. We should be putting carbon neutrality within all of our economic policies. I think that is really important. By doing so we can create a far more sustainable economy and one key area of that will be about joining up. We have heard people talking about it before but it is about looking at systems, it is about looking at ways different businesses can benefit from each other using each other’s materials, using each other’s expertise. As part of that joined-up approach we also need to encourage that by looking within Government at the areas where we stopped there being a joined-up approach. On those key areas, and I saw it recently very much on the planning visit, it is in planning. When our current planning policies are site specific, when you put in the planning application, the Planning Department looks at it as one site, it does not look at how that site that is being asked to be developed can work with the other sites around it, especially in areas like industrial estates or within town. There is no sense within the Planning Department that the sites being looked at for development are being … forced is perhaps not the right word but are being encouraged to work with the sites around them that already exist to use their resources and to share resources, thereby reducing the use of that new site’s resources.
The Government can do some key things to help create the playing field that businesses can then innovate upon and can work together in a systematic way to reduce the environmental footprint that they currently produce. For me these are important. If we are to encourage businesses to take a more environmentally-friendly approach to the way they work then we need to remove barriers to doing that. I know in terms of sustainable transport the main company in Jersey which supplies shared bicycles and shared vehicles at the moment has a real problem because it does not have enough parking spaces. The reason it does not have enough parking spaces is because there are barriers within the parochial and the main Government, the central government system, which are stopping them using parking spaces at the side of the street to put their cars. There are a few spaces, but they need a lot more. One of the reasons for this is that there is a view that every resident should have their own parking space, yet one shared car can service 10 families, so you can reduce the number of parking spaces needed, particularly in an urban area like St. Helier, by using shared vehicles, yet we have created this barrier which stops that happening because there is a current policy, particularly in this case at a parochial level, which stops that happening. We need to remove those barriers, because if you remove those barriers, then those businesses can go on to innovate, can go on to really make a proper and significant impact on our carbon and environmental footprints. I also want to say - and this is an area of criticism - we keep seeing opportunities to help develop a new more environmentally friendly economy and we keep passing up these opportunities. I believe the Fiscal Stimulus Fund was a classic example of that. What we did there or what has happened with the Fiscal Stimulus Fund is that most of it has been pumped into construction. As I have said previously, construction is currently not innovating in a way which is really bringing down its carbon footprint or its environmental impact at all and yet we use the Fiscal Stimulus Fund primarily to pump money into the construction sector. We have not used the Fiscal Stimulus Fund to encourage either private sector businesses or non-governmental business organisations to set up social enterprises or other enterprises which make an impact on developing a sustainable economy and reducing our environmental footprint. The Fiscal Stimulus Fund for some reason has not been used for those matters. That, in my view, is a massive failure of Government in this case because there is £50 million worth of money and it got pushed into one sector and that is not in a way that was encouraging that sector to innovate. So we need to, when we have these opportunities, really help prime the private sector or the non-governmental sector to move in a different direction, which really helps us build and create a more sustainable economy in the Island. We are passing them up and that cannot keep going on anymore. I just want to refer to Senator Farnham and his speech previously, because I am a huge fan of the marine park. I am a scuba diver. I love being underwater; it is that simple. It is preferable to being up here, I think. He mentioned seagrass beds. I spent 2 weeks once in the Caribbean studying seagrass beds and he is absolutely right. Jersey has a huge resource there which it can encourage. Our seagrass beds are far greater absorbers of carbon than trees and we need to be looking at ways that we can encourage the growth of seagrass beds around the Island because they will do far more to absorb carbon than any of our woods will do. But also I think Senator Farnham mentioned using the sea for renewable energy. There is nothing wrong with that. I am not a fan of great big concrete barrages because great big concrete barrages are enormous emitters of carbon and they have a massive impact on the marine environment. They are destroyers of the marine environment, but there are other technologies which can help us use our seas with far less environmental impact. That is fine, but that cannot be the priority right now. This Assembly and the Government - whichever Government, future Governments - need to keep focused. They need to focus on those areas where they can make most impact, not necessarily at least cost, but most impact, and that means transport, heating, oil and gas and the construction sector as the main areas. Renewable energy is a project and something that we need to have a longer-term strategic view on, we need to bring online. I do not have an issue with that, but it cannot be the priority and I worry that this Assembly sometimes picks up on these particular issues as though they are the solve-all issues and they are not, they are distractions from us achieving what we want to achieve. Carbon neutrality means looking at those areas - transport, heating, oil and gas particularly and construction as well - and dealing with them. Once we have dealt with them, then we can really start ploughing money into renewable energy from an energy security perspective. I would like to finish by just talking about something else. We talk about carbon neutrality a lot. There is another element of the whole climate change issue and that is the need to adapt to a warming climate. Now, we have done that as an Island most clearly in talking about defending against a higher level of seas. That is fine, but we also need to think in terms of living particularly, let us say, in St. Helier or any of the urban areas of Jersey in the warming climate. We know what it is like at the moment on hot days. That is likely to get worse and yet St. Helier is not a very green town at all. As a member of the Planning Committee, I am constantly talking about developers in town needing to be putting trees and greenery in their designs. We need, as an Island, to be thinking not just about carbon emissions, we need to be thinking about adapting to a warmer climate, climate adaptation. That needs to be again part of a joined-up approach to planning and it will help us, because whatever we do, it will not be anything as ... we need America, India, China, Russia, et cetera, et cetera, Europe, to be reducing their carbon emissions, and if they do not - which they almost certainly will not, I am afraid, in time - we will have to live with a warmer climate. For that, we also need to think about climate adaptation, otherwise Jersey will become a very uncomfortable place to live and that again is something which, through the Island Plan and planning policies, we need to be dealing with. So I apologise that I have said some of those things before, but I am quite passionate about their importance. With that, I will hand over to the next speaker.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Thank you. I have got Senator Ferguson and the Constables of St. Saviour and St. Peter and I will be looking to call the Minister at 12.40 p.m. to make his final remarks before we finish the debate.
Yes. I have not got a lot of speech to make, but going on from the seagrass forecast, funnily enough I was reading the same articles as Senator Farnham and other bits of reading about it and it is roughly about 40 per cent more carbon absorption in a marine environment rather than trees, so we can do it good and do it on ourselves as well, which is quite nice. I am getting fed up with the misery miasma that keep being deluged by the press, so I wish they would start being a little positive about things. I like the concept of geothermal because it means we can heat and get power generation online. There must be about at least 100 years of practical experience of producing power by this source. I mean, look at New Zealand, look at Iceland and so forth. Concrete, putting a filament filling in, reduces the carbon retention and we need to revise building regulations as well as encouraging specialising in ... or, no, as well as improving techniques. I mean, at the moment it is a very old-fashioned industry. Planning, another aspect of Deputy Morel’s comments which I agree with, is this concept of shoehorning developments into sites which are not appropriate. Offshore generation, those sort of things, it is better to, as the Deputy says, carry on with what we can do within our primary necessities rather than go into this sort of wild blue yonder of expensive windfarms and tidal projects which will need to be pulled out of the sea every 6 months or so for the equipment to be serviced.
I have just been thinking about what the Deputy of St. Martin said, because as you have been hearing, the Parishes have done a lot. Although the Constables do get knocked quite a lot, they have done quite a bit. The microforest that we have done with the J.E.C., we, for St. Saviour, put in a field that we had. We put planning in in January and we are still waiting to hear, so we do not know whether we can have this forest in this field in St. Saviour or not. We are still waiting to hear. The safer routes to school have been a labour of love between myself and the past and present Roads Committee. It would have been nice to have an input from the Parish representatives. The only one who has been, and that is because of his position, has been Deputy Lewis, and he has been very, very good. Before that, in 2011 when I first came into the States, Deputy Vallois, as she was at that time, was the Deputy of St. Saviour and worked very hard on these safer routes to school. Most of this has been on her back and we have had a marvellous achievement. There is still a lot to do and it has not been easy. Some parishioners do not like the fact that we are paying for a lot of it and why we are doing this and why we are doing that, but it is important that the schoolchildren can walk to school. What would have been really, really pleasant was for a really acceptable bus service because in the mornings, as everybody knows, St. Saviour has most of the schools, so the traffic comes through here and from Five Oaks down into the town. Whether you go down Wellington Hill or St. Saviour Hill, the fumes are horrendous. My parishioners who live in those roads cannot open their windows, they have to keep them closed. So if we could think about a fantastic bus service, even if it called in at just about every home in Parishes to bring the children to the schools in this Parish, it would be wonderful. There has been a mention of the biofuel and that should also be tapped into and thought about. At this Parish Hall - and I think a lot of them do - we have a place for the e-bikes and they are very popular. They come and go very, very quickly. To be honest with you, I was very surprised of how popular they have become, but they have. We do not have a parking space for an electric car, but we do have for the bikes. So I would like the next Government to think about what to put into practice. It is no secret that I am not standing again, so I am hopeful that the next Constable will think about the quality of life and keep going, but we do have to do something with the bus service to stop all the traffic coming through St. Saviour because the air quality is so bad, it is ridiculous. Thank you very much.
When considering our building programme of up to 7,000 new homes and our draft Island Plan, we must minimise the resource and energy consumption by using and insisting on new building techniques that are already available, which encourage sustainable design and a lower carbon cost.
We must also not forget the damage that has already been done to our environment by ensuring that new developments can be future-proofed so they are resilient to extreme weather events and future climate changes. These occur today and will continue for many generations until hopefully we are able to reverse some of these effects. Many of our larger buildings lend themselves to allow solar panels to be installed and St. Peter is in the early stages of discussions to allow solar panels to be installed on 2 of our Parish buildings, which will generate a commercial quantity of electricity for the next 25 years. I hope to see this project to its fruition in the next few years. Some of our other initiatives are the replacing of our street lighting with low energy L.E.D. (light-emitting diode) lights, perhaps with reference to my fellow Constable of St. Martin. We have 73 Parish lights to replace and perhaps we may have the title of Parish of Lighting Future. In addition, all lighting in the Parish buildings have been replaced by similar low energy units and the lampposts on which the new street lighting is erected all have provision for charging points for electric vehicles to be added in the future. RD100 diesel has been mentioned and, like a number of Parishes, we now run all our vehicles on this green fuel. But why are we not encouraging more of the public to do so by reducing the tax on the fuel? Our other initiatives have included a recycling scheme, heat from air units in a number of our properties, the planting of trees by the Roads Committee and plans for a microforest. What is important, as with RD100 fuel, is we must take the public with us on this journey and setting realistic targets is vital. The target of 2025 for the ending of registration of petrol and diesel vehicles is one in question. Not everyone can afford an electric vehicle and transition fuel, such as RD100, will become more readily available. The car manufacturers are already well-advanced in their plans to phase out diesel and petrol vehicles so we should, at the very least, consider their timetable in setting our own. In fact, there are some significant benefits in extending the life of the older petrol and diesel vehicle if the new fuels are used. There has been a significant carbon footprint when the vehicle was produced, so by maintaining it and extending its life it delays the need to produce a new electric vehicle with a similar carbon footprint. There are also some downsides to the current generation of electric cars and bikes. Lithium required in the batteries is a relatively rare element and its mining creates both environmental and social issues with the mining methods that are currently employed. The commercial recycling of the batteries is still to be developed and already, in certain European countries, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of the first-generation electric vehicles in storage. They cannot be scrapped until a solution is found how to recycle the batteries and reuse the materials within them. The good news is that, as with all technology, there are new battery solutions on the way in the next few years. We are on an important journey in which we must all play our part to stop and reverse the effects of global warming and to stop destroying our planet. It is a journey into which everyone must play their part. So please, in setting targets, remember and consider all the facts and ensure that what is proposed is realistic and based on looking at the full picture.
I will be brief because I know the Minister for the Environment will be summing up. I will just quickly whizz through a list of things I have made a note of. Deputy Higgins mentioned raising the seawalls. Absolutely. That is something that is in hand Global warming is not coming, global warming is here. I am also very concerned with the possibilities of inland flooding, and that is something my department is working on very actively. I will just cite recently what is happening in Germany and China. Deputy Truscott mentioned buses. We were up 40 per cent pre-COVID on bus ridership. Constable of St. John: leave LibertyBus alone. Agree 100 per cent with that. They are a fantastic company and, dare I say, head and shoulders above their predecessors. They are a very forward-thinking company and I am very pleased to be working with them. Regarding electric vehicles at the airport. Absolutely. Excellent idea. We have made provision for them in town, a few parking spaces for the electric hire vehicles that can be shared, likewise the Parish of St. Helier. But obviously what goes on at the harbour and the airport is out of my control; that is the harbours and airports department. Deputy Morel mentioned car-share infrastructure. Absolutely. I have just covered that. I fully support that as well. Thanks to the Constable of St. Saviour. Absolutely. Safer routes to school, that is where we are going. It is not just about improving the buses, which can always be improved. But because to get a school bus around the Island, depending on where you are coming from, sometimes students have to leave home maybe an hour earlier so if parents are coming into town they do tend to bring the children with them. Not just so it saves time for the children but they count it because obviously both parents are working to pay the mortgage, they use it as family time and they do tend to clog up the roads in the morning. There is a trail coming up from Mont Millais, St. Saviour’s Road and, indeed, Wellington Road in the mornings. It is, as the Constable said, absolutely gridlocked and that is something that the team are working on and we do our best to alleviate. I will not say anymore. The Minister for the Environment will sum up shortly but I thank everyone for their comments regarding transport, and it will be taken onboard.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
I am going to allow Senator Ferguson her 2 minutes and then I am going to call Deputy Young.
St. Peter are installing low energy units. If others and Infrastructure are going to be installing L.E.D. lights in streets or houses can I ask that you use soft slightly orange ones? Oldies, such as me, find that the white version causes significant glare at night from the blue factor in the white lights. It is all available on the internet and it certainly makes it much easier for oldies. The orange lights that we used to have, the sodium ones, are much better for driving at night for old people. Please, please, please, can you just remember your oldies?
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Thank you, that was one minute. Deputy Young, you have 5 or 6 minutes, we are in your hands.
I better get going then. Obviously a huge challenge. I am going to start by thanking all 23 speeches. That is 20 first speeches and 3 second speeches. I am very grateful that 3 Ministers have spoken and 2 Assistant Ministers. I would have liked to have had more Ministers on board but I am grateful for those Ministers that did. This is the second in-committee debate I have had the pleasure to introduce, and this one has not disappointed. It reminds me of the days when we had committees and of course that is exactly what we are. We are in an in-committee debate. What is different about our usual mode of operation is that we are in a non-adversarial mode, because obviously the ministerial system creates us working adversarially and legalistically, so I think that is quite an important message for me. Because quite a number of speakers identified very clearly we need to be more joined up. This is a huge agenda of work and there is ...
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Sorry, Deputy, you have been silenced.
Deputy J.H. Young:
I am going to turn my camera off because that is why it is cutting out. I see the officers will produce a note and try and produce a written summary of what Members have said and that will certainly help us all. But we do need to join up, and I think that is the message for the new Government. I will cover shortly the work that is in progress has been asked to do, the timescales we are working to and so on. But I think there are a set of issues there about the ministerial structure, how we make sure the environmental agenda and the infrastructure agendas are closely co-ordinated because infrastructure is clearly key. Infrastructure investment is clearly a major part of this. But equally we need environmental policy to achieve the sustainability that virtually every Member seconds. Secondly, we have heard bits of dysfunctionality, and I share the concerns about the disappointment in our fiscal stimulus opportunities. I certainly am aware of proposals that went forward that were put in the bin. I think this is a set of lessons for the corporate part of Government to ensure that that links and joins up with the other parts of it. I have to say, the positivity of Members was, I think, very impressive in their comments. There is great opportunity there for future Governments and, of course, opportunities for leadership because I am sure many Members who have spoken are going to be players or aspiring to be players in the new Government. I have made my position clear. Half of me wishes I was 10 years younger, I want to be part of it, but nonetheless, there is great potential there to take that forward. The whole notions of a prosperous future, leadership, and also this idea about Jersey setting a need. That is going to be very important. And the need to be able to adapt and adjust. We have to be much more flexible. I think that takes us into the issues of organisational structures; the way in which we work in our ministerial structures. Members know that I have had concerns that I think that needs to change and develop. I would hope that the new Chief Minister, whoever they are, begins to address this. Also candidates who see themselves in this role because the citizens’ assembly, as itself has said, there should be a Minister for Energy. That is an interesting thing. I was absolutely delighted and really inspired by the agenda coming from our Connétables. I thank the Connétable of St. Lawrence for her positive remarks and I am sorry, the Constable of St. Saviour, there is something I need to sort out there. It did not quite go right. But nonetheless, what we are hearing from our Connétables and St. Martin, St. Brelade, Grouville, real grassroots action. I think we need to find ways of harnessing this. One of the things I am going to take away, I do not want this energy of States Members working together and all their skills and knowledge and ideas that they brought to the table today, to just disappear because we are now going back into an adversarial process. I am going to think about how that can be harnessed in the work that we have to do. I will be frank, today’s discussion has been 10 times better. I have not been able to get a decent discussion at the Council of Ministers. I think that is partly because ... it is not the fault of the individuals. It is just our process bogs us down. Bogs us down in the kind of minutiae stuff. So the energy, I picked up so much material today I am going to follow that through. There seems to be a consensus around we need to do things in the Government Plan on fiscal measures. I think those are something which our Government Plan debate ... we should be able to do this year, in my view, because Members spoke about missed opportunities. Yes, Deputy Morel and others, and the Constable of St. Peter, we have to do things in the Island Plan, somewhere or other, our planning system, we are not joining up enough.
I think myself that that probably is a bit of a long-term issue because I do know we will need a new planning law. I think our planning law is very much focused on this very site-specific approach, as Deputy Morel said, and that will need to be developed and changed. There are some elements in the Island Plan, which I think as we take forward this year we can move towards that. The Deputy of Grouville: stop negativity. Absolutely right. I think my colleague Minister, the Deputy of Grouville, did set me a challenge. What are we doing? What is our timescale? The timescale is, is that there is an attempt to have a preferred strategy, which is the high level that kind of lists the basic tasks and the targets that we are trying to do, the officers are trying to do, the States S.P.3 (Strategic Policy, Planning and Performance) team and produce for the Council of Ministers by September. I am hoping I can get more engaged with the generality of Ministers, and thank you for the 3 and 2 Assistant Ministers that have spoken and contributed. I am hoping I can do that. But that is critical. Then the target date is, for the roadmap, with all the costs, impact, benefits assessed for social, environment and economic is January 2022, for that to be published. This is to be frank, I will be honest, are hopeful to get a spring debate. We do not yet know how many States sittings we have got. We know we are running out of time. I think that is an issue to take away and think about. We are resource constrained. Deputy Labey, I am afraid, there is a very limited team of people working on this but we do have a carbon neutral fund, so we can plug in support for that work. But I am afraid there is such ... and those Members that spoke about focus. Absolutely right. In the pieces of work that I have just mentioned, we can try and achieve as best we can. This project requires a paradigm shift. It is a start of a journey today, I think today’s debate has been a really good start. I hope somehow or other, the energy and the passion and the ideas that Members have expressed today - and I thank Members all for it - and please do not stop here. I am happy if Members want to send in contributions by writing, or emails rather, if you want to consolidate. Also they may even think about putting some of this on the Government website so we can start to collect and not lose these important pieces of information. I do not know whether Members feel that that does justice but it is a bit of a poor summing up. That is 8 minutes so I will pause on that and see whether Members want me to pick up anything else.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Thank you, Deputy. I think that was a masterclass in covering the grounds in a brisk fashion, so I do not think you should do yourself down. That brings us to the end of the in-committee debate. I think that was a very thorough and thoughtful debate that the members of the Climate Change Assembly will want to look at subsequently, and I am sure they will be very interested in what was said. We now come to the arrangement of public business.
Deputy J.H. Young:
Can I just add? If all Members can make sure that praise goes out to the Climate Assembly members because I do not think I have been able to do that adequately today. This is community-led and they have really set us on the road. I would like Members to make sure that message goes out. Sorry, to interrupt.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
We now move to Deputy Alves and the arrangement of public business at the next meeting.
There have been 2 changes to the listing of future business as shown on the Consolidated Order Paper. They are the Draft Taxation (Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax and Revenue Administration) (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 202-, which was deferred from the present meeting to the meeting on 14th September, along with the amendments for the law that have been lodged. The proposition from Senator Mézec, Vote of Censure: Council of Ministers, that was lodged today, has also been listed for the meeting in September. The lodging deadlines for September have yet to be reached so there may be more propositions listed for that date in due course. One that will definitely be added is the proposition for P.P.C. (Privileges and Procedures Committee) that will see the Assembly’s confirmation of whether or not to continue with the 3-weekly meeting cycle. This proposition will be lodged in time for the September meeting. Just to pre-empt some Members’ comments or questions. With regard to whether we will be back physically in the Chamber after the summer recess, obviously this remains dependent on the underlying public health guidance and we do not know yet how things will be in September. I would also like to take this opportunity to prompt Members to read a reply to the email that was sent round yesterday on P.P.C.’s behalf, which is in relation to the remote participation in States meetings. A couple of Members have already replied, so thank you for that. If I can just prompt Members to have a look at that and get back to us with their thoughts. With that, I propose the Arrangement of Public Business for Future Meetings.
The Greffier of the States (in the Chair):
Is the arrangement of pubic business seconded? [Seconded] Does any Member wish to speak on the arrangement of public business? If not, I will take it that the public business for 14th September is accepted on a standing vote. The Assembly accordingly stands adjourned until Tuesday, 14th September at 9.30 a.m.