Public to be asked for ideas on reducing car use in Island

ISLANDERS will be asked for their views on ways to reduce the number of vehicles on Jersey’s roads after politicians approved a proposal designed to strengthen the Island’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Deputy Jess Perchard                                                             Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29648283)
Deputy Jess Perchard Picture: ROB CURRIE. (29648283)

Deputy Jess Perchard’s proposition outlining a series of measures she wanted considering as part of the Carbon Neutral Strategy, which was given the go-ahead by the States last year, and the Sustainable Transport Policy related to it, was approved by 39 votes to four.

She proposed that ministerial policies, which under the strategy would be put to a citizens’ panel, should include measures to disincentivise non-commercial and non-essential car travel and the ownership of several cars within a single household. She also called for measures to incentivise the use of public transport and non-motorised travel and one or no car ownership per household.

The Deputy called for the same measures to be considered by the Treasury when it looked at ways to raise money to fund the transition to carbon neutrality.

And she wanted a commitment that any changes in parking charges introduced under the STP should not worsen income inequality. The wording of that proposal was altered slightly following an amendment from Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis.

Deputy Perchard said her proposition had been about six weeks in development and had been formulated following close working with government officers.

Responding to concerns raised by some during the debate about the wording, she said some parts of the proposition were deliberately vague to allow it to be a basis from which to move forward.

‘What I want is to bring an agenda for discussion and bring ideas to the table,’ she said, adding that the proposal was a ‘demonstration’ of how a backbencher could work collaboratively with government departments and officers.

St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft said he had been amending propositions on sustainable transport and lodging them himself for so long and seeing so little progress that he had become disenchanted.

Environment Minister John Young thanked Deputy Perchard for ‘helping us on this journey’, particularly with her proposal relating to income inequality.

Constable Chris Taylor, a classic-car enthusiast, said he would be opposing the proposition, as reducing car usage was a separate issue to ownership. He said some people owned cars for different purposes and added: ‘I think we need to be very careful we are not playing big brother here and dictating what they can and cannot own.’

Deputy Lindsay Ash, meanwhile, said ‘we are in danger of being run by an eco mafia’ – a comment which was later criticised by Deputy Rob Ward, who said perhaps instead there was a ‘white middle-aged man mafia’ which was in denial of what was happening in the world. He welcomed the proposition and the discussions it was designed to promote and praised Deputy Perchard for bringing a proposition with ‘real ideas, real thought and consultation with officers so that change might actually be possible’.

Deputy Kirsten Morel, however, questioned why age and race were being brought into the debate in an unhelpful way. He said he had some concerns about the wording of parts of the proposition.

The Members who voted against the proposition were: Constables Mike Jackson, John Le Bailly and Chris Taylor and Deputy Russell Labey.

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