ENVIRONMENT

We believe that for decades, eminent worthies have been wheeled out (or more often flown in on private jets) to give great speeches at vast and eye-wateringly expensive summits, often at 5* resorts in sunny climes, condemning the destruction of our planet, climate change, nuclear energy and the destruction of the rainforest.

They rallied their high energy, lo-info fellow travellers, made themselves feel important but conspicuously failed to protect the environment. It must be asked then, do people really believe they can save the environment by chaining themselves to the gates of fracking stations?

What do demonstrations in Europe really do for the rainforest? This has, to date, been nothing more “worthy” than “activism by hashtag”, weekend rebels, generation slacker salving their consciences and burnishing their eco-cred by doing the absolute minimum possible yet still convincing themselves they are saving the world.

 A real solution for our planet would have required thorough, thought-out plans and concrete strategies, however, it seems that it is far easier to blame politics, the economy and imaginary spectres amongst the political “right” for the abject failure and manifest negligence of the environmental movement.

And so it fell to the Greens, a larger assortment of far left lunatic nut-bags and soap dodging anarchist whack-jobs you will never find anywhere. Due to David Cameron’s abject terror of UKIP, the Greens in the last UK General Election were elevated far above their comedy status and the British public, many for the first time, truly saw what a dangerous bunch of extremists they are.

What pray tell, does the utterly imbecilic policy of decriminalising the membership of terrorist organisations have to do with saving the environment? The answer of course is: nothing, but the exposure was enough to completely discredit the Greens and taint all “green” causes with the same whiff of madness.

House Building

We believe that building and planning applications should be tightened to better protect our island from the rampant development we have seen undertaken by the big property developers. The unique character of our island, and the countryside is being eroded as development seems to be permitted everywhere and entirely driven by greed and profit, rather than the real needs of real people for homes and communities, rather than just providing a roof over one’s head.

It is far too rare for a local Jersey family to be able to build their own home for their family but “monstrous carbuncles” spring up seemingly as edifices to the egos of their architects with no effort made to place them sympathetically within their environment.

Dwelling Sizes

We believe that RIBA is correct to state that in 1920, average homes in the UK measured 1,647 square feet and boasted four bedrooms, but today’s equivalent has three bedrooms and is 925 square feet. Average terraced homes have also shrunk – from three bedrooms with 1,020 square feet, to two bedrooms and 645 square feet. The average size of a newly built one-bed home is just 46 square metres – the size of a tube carriage on the London Underground.

We believe that this makes sense for the builders and developers because they can develop for less, squeeze more people in and charge more for the pleasure of playing sardines. They can also lay on the ubiquitous Jersey premium to gouge even more money out of desperate home buyers.

The average home in the UK is 85 square metres compared to 115 square metres in Holland and 137 square metres in Denmark.

We believe that for the avoidance of rabbit hutch homes, minimum standards should exist on space and light, as housing charity Shelter warns in their report “Full House?” “…cramped living conditions harm family relationships, negatively affect children’s education and cause depression, stress and anxiety…”

On this, Susan Saegert, professor of environmental psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center and director of the Housing Environments Research Group in New York states that while smaller accommodations may suit young professionals for a short period of time, tiny living conditions can be terrible for other residents – particularly if a couple or a parent and child squeeze into 300 square feet for the long term, no matter how well a unit is designed.

She went on to say; “I’ve studied children in crowded apartments and low-income housing a lot,” Saegert said, “and they can end up becoming withdrawn, and have trouble studying and concentrating.” In these situations, modern amenities, such as floor to ceiling windows, extra storage and a communal roof deck, won’t compensate for a fundamental lack of privacy in a child’s home every day.

We also believe that with an ageing population and people being fitter and healthier for longer homes should be more friendly for the elderly or wheelchair-bound with ‘access’ requirements based on disability standards.

Energy

We believe that one of the single largest costs incurred in running a home is that of energy. Regardless of one’s views about “global warming” and “climate change” the ideal of cheap, efficient, clean and renewable energy for all Islanders should be one which every one of us can appreciate.

We reject, out of hand, wind farms and turbines of that nature. We believe that they are one of the most “expensive, ugly, destructive, and inefficient forms of energy production” available and agree with the position that they are one of the worst examples of crony capitalism imaginable.

We believe it is shocking that according to John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation, British energy users are now stung to the tune of £2 billion a year for onshore and offshore wind subsidies. As Warren Buffett once famously said of wind farms: “They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” In other words, it is highly doubtful whether one single turbine would be blighting our skylines and globally slaughtering up to a staggering and entirely unsustainable 30 million birds and 50 million bats every year, without this State mandated gouging of the taxpayer.

We believe that whilst some State outlay is to be expected in the provision of energy that it is right and proper to allow commercial companies to invest in and manage the production and distribution of energy. The State has no business being in the energy business nor does the State have any business picking winners and losers amongst competing interests. We believe the role of the State in this matter is to ensure the consumer gets the best possible deal.

We believe it right therefore to reduce our reliance on external supply which is subject to fluctuations completely outside of our influence or control and look instead to renewable energy in particular the feasibility of tidal generated power such as the SDE Energy “Sea Wave” Power Plants and the “Water Wall” Turbine technology.

We believe we should also allow more homes, especially those with south facing roofs, to put solar panels up and generate their own energy. Jersey is, after all, the sunniest place in the British Isles.

We believe that, with an expanding population (at least in the short term), all forms of energy should be investigated. We believe that the discovery of shale gas and oil deposits in the UK could very well be a “game changer” and herald many years of energy security. If only 20% of the currently discovered resources could be extracted (with today’s technology and methods), then the UK’s Gas needs would be met for over 100 years.

We believe that it is right to put to bed the shameful scaremongering over “fracking” and responsible to investigate whether and how much of the southern UK (Wessex) and northern French shale gas basins extend beneath Jersey with a view to extracting shale gas and oil from any deposits around our Island.

Agriculture

Jersey relies on the export of Jersey Royals for a reason, it is one of the only crops that farmers can export, it is one of the only crops that can still compete in the market-place.

We believe that for now it still has a faithful consumer base among UK consumers but how long can we rely on that? Potatoes are losing out in their market shares to quicker-to-prepare commodities and newer to the market crops such as quinoa.

We agree in general with Deputy Luce who wants farmers to grow alternative crops, which would be deemed as profitable as Jersey Royals.

We believe that there is a very real opportunity for diversification and to provide income for our farmers from growing pharmaceutical crops such as Evening primrose, Calendula, borage and hemp.

We agree in general that these crops can be cold pressed within the farms and then sold to pharmaceutical companies. This would provide the farmers an alternative crop(s) to have proper field rotations to benefit the farming land.

We believe that current ambitions are too short sighted. As we have mentioned in other sections, commercially growing high grade medicinal cannabis and extracting the active chemical compounds for the growing global pharmaceutical market has the potential to bring a very significant boost to our economy. Not just by selling the cold pressed oils but creating an entirely new industry from developing seeds and strains, extraction, medical sales, pharma sales and even processing the residual products. Many people are unaware that the fibres of the fast growing cannabis plant may be turned into many things including; high quality paper and rope or mixed with other types of fibre and turned into cloth. This makes turn around much more rapid than trees for paper pulp and makes for a truly sustainable almost waste free cash crop.