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Climate change report full of mistakes, say ex-forecasters

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A REPORT by UK consultants which cost nearly £4,000 is littered with grammatical mistakes and factual errors – such as warnings about floods in the Island’s ‘rivers’, two former weather forecasters have complained.

The assessment barely mentions the risk of coastal flooding in Jersey, its critics say

In a letter published in today’s paper, Jennie Holley and Frank Le Blancq highlight several mistakes in the report – Analysis of Future Jersey indicators that are at high risk from climate change – which was carried out by Aether consultants of Oxford.

Mrs Holley, who was a forecaster for 29 years before retiring in 2008, said that she was ‘frustrated’ to see Jersey wasting money on such reports.

‘The States departments commissioning the reports should perhaps read them through on receipt,’ she said.

‘If they spot errors and inconsistencies, they should take these up with the authors/consultants before publishing the reports locally. To release them with obvious mistakes – that most Islanders could spot – makes the departments look foolish, and gives the impression that they care little for the quality of work commissioned using taxpayers’ money.’

Mrs Holley and Mr Le Blancq point out that the report draws heavily on a climate-change report drawn up for the UK, which means that it is not totally relevant to Jersey.

For example, it mentions risk of flooding from Jersey’s ‘rivers’ and seems to suggest that there is a risk of droughts at the Island’s Ramsar sites, such as the Ecréhous and the Minquiers. ‘Should we lose sleep over the possible deterioration of the Paternosters or should the authors have looked at a map?’ they ask in their letter.

The 21-page report, which cost £3,850, was commissioned by the Environment Department as part of its Future Jersey project.

‘I don’t think they have done their homework sufficiently,’ Mrs Holley said.

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‘Even if the Environment Department told them some of the information, I don’t think they have actually bothered to look at a map of the Island and we definitely don’t have anything that could be considered a “river”.

‘There is an awful lot [in the report] about flooding but not a lot about coastal flooding, which is what Jersey is concerned about.

‘In the past, there would have been professionals employed [by the Environment Department] who would have been capable of producing this report. But in the rush to reduce public sector employment costs they have got rid of posts and people who could have done it.

‘It is frustrating that thousands of pounds are being spent on these reports. I think a lot of people are fed up with these reports being outsourced to “experts” from outside the Island who sometimes regurgitate what they have been told.’

Mrs Holley and Mr Le Blancq have form for scrutinising consultant reports commissioned by the States, having raised concerns earlier in the year over a £28,000 report, Jersey Sea Limits and Coastal Conditions Climate Review 2017, which was carried out by the National Oceanographic Centre.

Ramsay Cudlipp

By Ramsay Cudlipp
author

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