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Environment has been ‘taken for granted’

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JERSEY’S natural environment has been ‘taken for granted’ for too long, according to the Island’s new Environment Minister.

Environment Minister John Young. Picture: IAN HEATH (21949919)

And Deputy John Young has insisted he will work to ensure the environment is recognised as a key issue for the States during his term in office.

Deputy Young was responding to criticism levelled at the States by Charles Alluto, the National Trust for Jersey’s chief executive, in the JEP on Saturday.

Mr Alluto claimed that the States lacks ambition in terms of its environmental goals – and suggested that the Island should adopt an all-electric car policy and ban single-use plastic bags within the next five years.

Mr Alluto added: ‘The Environment Department budget is 0.8 per cent of government expenditure, whereas government in its publicity will talk about the environment as if it is one of the three legs of its stool.’

Deputy Young said that he supported Mr Alluto’s view that the Environment Department was under-funded.

‘I agree with Mr Alluto that the Environment Department has never had the level of budget that it should have had and its resources have diminished in recent years,’ he said.

‘And the environment has been taken for granted and that is something I will work to correct – to ensure the environment gets the recognition it deserves.’

Deputy Young said he felt the Island was already turning the corner in terms of addressing environmental concerns and added: ‘We can change our behaviours [in terms of] everyone’s plastic bag habits to get rid of them.

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‘And children are really buying into the environmental agenda too, which is important.’

Deputy Young earlier this month pledged his support to initiatives designed to help turn the Island ‘plastic free’, including the Plastic-Free July initiative – a States-run project to encourage Islanders to think about the amount of single-use plastic they use. He added: ‘We are also going to deal with marine plastics – we are going to eliminate this material from our seas.

‘We have made a commitment to the British-Irish Council that we will work collaboratively with the rest of the British Isles on this because Jersey can’t do it all on its own.’

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