This letter appears in today’s Jersey Evening Post – it doesn’t need any further explanation, but you can look through our archives to get salient details on the appalling practises and cover-ups:
As winter storms disperse the last of this year’s sea lettuce in St Aubin’s Bay, it is worth noting the recent assertions made by the Minister of Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in the States that: a) the cause of the problem comes mainly from nitrates washed in from France and b) the discharges of nitrates from the Bellozanne outfall into St Aubin’s Bay, whilst up to six times more than the department are legally permitted to discharge, is ‘not news’.
We disagree. The ‘French theory’ was, as conceded by the Minister in answer to a question by Senator Sarah Ferguson, based on one simple and inconclusive test.
We asked for, and failed to get, the relevant information from the DfI earlier this year, so what chance does the public have? Because the DfI did not give us the requested data, SOSJ embarked on a time-consuming independent testing programme which was only stopped when the we received the information through a Freedom of Information request. The data confirmed our own findings that the problem is ‘home grown’.
It is time that the DfI admitted responsibility for the problem. The Regulator has confirmed the Department received two formal warnings as far back as 2011 and a case file was prepared for the Attorney General. However, the Department had no case brought against it, as would be the case if a private individual or business poured chemicals into a drain.
We have noted this reluctance to prosecute other States entities before, one example being the flooding of the incinerator site in 2009, where highly polluted leachate was pumped into the ‘protected’ Ramsar Area. The Regulator sent two formal cautions to the contractors but no action was taken. The clients were TTS, now DfI.
The Regulator clearly cannot do his job when it applies to pollution, so what responsibility do the States take when polluting our own marine environment? None at all, would seem to be the answer. We believe we need an independent Regulator at the very least and a strong and truthful look at our laws as they apply to the States.