Call to strengthen National Park ‘in the north and east’
JERSEY’S National Park must be ‘strengthened and extended’ to ensure the Island protects its most valuable asset – its coastline – environmental campaigner Mike Stentiford has said following the launch of a number of initiatives this weekend.
Ten years on from the National Trust for Jersey’s Line in the Sand demonstration – which involved up to 6,000 Islanders standing shoulder to shoulder along the length of St Ouen’s Bay – a range of activities took place in the area.
At the Frances Le Sueur Centre at Mielles de Morville, the new headquarters for the National Park, a Saving Plémont book that depicts the history of the fight to save the headland from development was unveiled by the Lieutenant-Governor, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.
The book is now on sale. Profits will go towards the trust’s Coastline Campaign Fund. They hope to save 1,000 vergées of land by 2036 and need to raise £10 million.
A Cash for Coastline campaign is now also under way, with Islanders being urged to drop surplus change into a treasure chest which, from Monday, will be based at the trust’s headquarters – The Elms. Money raised from this scheme will also go towards the £10 million target.
Speaking after accepting a copy of the book from its editor, former Senator and Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache, Sir Stephen said: ‘Before we were lucky enough to come to live in Jersey two-and-a-half years ago we had been to Jersey many times and Plémont and the beach below was our favourite place to go.’
He added: ‘Jersey can take great pride in what it is trying to do to sustain its coastline. Lots of people talk about conservation, but talk is cheap. It’s another thing to actually do something.
‘The doing is where we need to keep the pressure on.’
Members of the public also had the chance to sign the new virtual Line in the Sand petition. The trust hopes to get 42,000 signatures to represent a continuous finger-to-finger chain of people around the Island.
The trust also recently acquired a one vergée piece of land near the Barge Aground for £7,500 from a private seller. A plaque was unveiled there by Sir Stephen and Lady Dalton. Two more strips of land have been donated to the trust by Islander Margaret Bazire.
‘It’s fantastic that people still have such faith in us,’ said trust chief executive Charles Alluto to crowds gathered at the Frances Le Sueur Centre yesterday.
Mr Stentiford said the Jersey National Park had taken on a six-year lease of the venue from Jersey Property Holdings and had signed up to the Back to Work scheme to ensure the area was ‘completely refurbished’.
‘It’s been a neglected space but now we want to use it to its full potential. There are indoor and outdoor classrooms and we want to host events here, have photography or art exhibitions, that is our aspiration,’ he said.
Speaking about the future of the National Park, Mr Stentiford said it was important that politicians got the message of how important it is as the Island gets closer to publishing its next Island Plan, which will dictate planning policy until 2030.
‘There is so much more that can be done. We want the park to be strengthened and extended. It’s great in the west, but more can be done in the north and east,’ he added.
‘A national park is a brand and it’s not just about a landscape. It’s about all the little things – the biodiversity, the agriculture, the people, the history.’
Speaking to the JEP, Mr Alluto said Jersey was the 13th most populous island state in the world.
‘Our coastline is special. Anyone who comes to the Island says how special it is, but sometimes we can take it for granted. It’s part of our DNA. Whether you build sandcastles on the beach, kayak, surf, swim, walk, it is special and it needs protecting,’ Mr Alluto said.
Other events held yesterday in support of coastal protection included a bird-spotting tour from Faulkner Fisheries, a guided walk and activities for children. Le Braye Café hosted a Coffee for Coastline promotion which also helped raise money for the trust.