The official population of Jersey is now 104,200 – and we don’t know how many are here unofficially. This, of course, has an effect on our environment. In terms of our SOSJ remit, we’ll briefly outline our concerns as to the ramifications of no population policy.
First, earlier today our environmental scientist Jacqui Carrel spoke on Tony Gillham’s show on Radio Jersey – you can hear what she had to say on the replay: start at 3 hrs 20 mins in. (You can also hear Deputy Murray Norton and Jersey Action Group’s John Baker afterwards talking about the effects of an increasing population.)
Our concerns in brief
Our concerns could fill a book, but we’ll just give a few pointers! You’ll find much more details about various issues on this website.
Population policy – not!
We don’t have proper population policy. Very late in the day, Ministers are starting to address the issue, but it remains to see what they come up with, and if they do – it has already been delayed several times.
Without a coherent population policy, we can’t possibly plan properly for the future in terms of infrastructure, the strain we put on resources and the environmental impacts on the sea, beaches, fresh water, air, and much more.
An increasing population means more waste: we already can’t cope, not least because our sewage treatment works (STW) is not up to the job – it’s old and was built for a much smaller population.
A new STW should be built and completed within a few years, but (currently, and as far as we know) a nitrate-removal system will not be incorporated – cost is one big factor, but we haven’t seen the sums for related/knock-on costs if we don’t have it.
The new STW is not being built with any startlingly new technology so, while it should help the problem of our dreadful water initially, its time of helpfulness will be limited, especially if our population keeps rising.
We will be calling more on our land for farming and building. Without a proper farming policy, our soils will become even more dusty and devoid of organic matter and nutrients, and we’ll have to reply even more on manufactured fertilisers.
This in turn will mean more runoff (because the soil can’t retain the water) and more nitrate- and phosphate-rich and otherwise polluted waters entering our bays and the STW.
More building will mean more excavation: in turn we will have more heavy metals and asbestos dumped at La Collette. That’s bad enough, but we can’t sustain this policy. What’s next? We either rein back, or build La Collette Reclamation Area #2 (NO!) or export it for treatment elsewhere, which will cost a great deal.
Should you not be aware, the fresh water from the town side of St Helier (much of it polluted) mixes with sea water that comes in under the sea wall; the receding tide then pulls the polluted mix out into St Aubin’s Bay and east around La Collette.
In 2011, SOSJ took shellfish samples near Havre des Pas to get a base-line assessment of heavy metal levels. We will repeat this soon (when we get some funding) and will compare the results.
# # #
There’s more – we haven’t even mention air pollution and our contaminated reservoirs – but we hope you get the gist: WE MUST HAVE A PROPER POPULATION POLICY – without this, we can’t even begin to plan for a good environmental future.
We also hope that one day the relevant States departments will invite us and other local bodies to sit around the table and plan with them – or at least get and consider our various inputs – rather than viewing us with the disdain they do.