Last week parishioners in the capital backed proposals to declare a ‘climate change emergency’ and aim to become carbon neutral between 2025 and 2030.
Deputy Rob Ward’s amended proposition was backed by 37 votes to one at a parish assembly and Constable Simon Crowcroft was asked to produce an action plan to reduce St Helier’s carbon footprint by the end of the year.
Carbon neutrality is when organisations, businesses or individuals remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they put into it.
St Lawrence Constable Deidre Mezbourian, chairwoman of the Constables’ Committee, said that the other Constables will consider asking their parishes to follow St Helier’s decision at their next monthly meeting. Amendments to the St Helier proposition were lodged on the evening by Senator Sam Mézec and environmental campaigner Nigel Jones, both of which were approved.
Senator Mézec requested that a similar Islandwide proposition lodged by Deputy Ward, which is due to be debated in the States Assembly next month, be endorsed by the assembly.
And Mr Jones proposed that the target date for carbon neutrality be brought forward from 2030 to 2025. It was eventually agreed to aim for a time between 2025 and 2030.
Mr Crowcroft agreed to establish a working party to help him prepare the action plan and asked that interested parishioners contact him or the St Helier Deputies.
Outlining his proposals, Deputy Ward said that climate change was such an emergency that it needed to be treated like ‘our house is on fire’ and ‘cultural change’ was required to achieve carbon neutrality.
He said that carbon neutrality would be difficult to achieve but he would ‘make no apology for being ambitious’.
Converting food waste into compost, using electric dustcarts, working with eco-friendly contractors and encouraging the installation of solar panels were all suggested as possible avenues for the parish to explore.
Procureur du Bien Public Peter Pearce, who is responsible for parish finances, said that he was concerned that he was being asked to write an ‘open cheque’ to pay for the transition to carbon neutrality.
In response, the Constable said that all that was being approved at this stage was for a plan to be drawn up.