Neighbour seeks judicial review over Whispers Vinery licence

DIRECTOR of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation Val Cameron is facing legal action over her handling of the Whispers Vinery affair.

Whispers Vinery

DIRECTOR of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation Val Cameron is facing legal action over her handling of the Whispers Vinery affair.

In December 2012 Mrs Cameron granted a licence to B. R. Langlois to operate an industrial  wood burner to provide heat for glasshouses for a pepper-growing operation at Rue des Goddards, Castel.

Helen Litchfield, who lives across the road from the vinery, and some 30 metres from the burner, is now seeking a judicial review of the process behind it.

She alleges that Mrs Cameron granted the licence without appropriate conditions and has erred by failing to vary existing conditions or add extra ones.

Between December 2012 and July this year, Ms Litchfield made several complaints to Mrs Cameron regarding various aspects of the operation which she said failed to comply with an EU Waste Incineration Directive.

Comments for: "Neighbour seeks judicial review over Whispers Vinery licence"

Dave B

Mrs Litchfield faces an uphill struggle against the well resourced Crown Officers.

If any readers know her could I suggest she is looks at

We left all the supporting paperwork (and there is a lot) with Island Archives before we moved abroad. This should be freely available to Mrs Litchfield or her advocates.


The problem for judicial reviews since the late Sir Alan Hancox left the bench is that it will be difficult to find someone of his breadth of experience or impartiality. Guernsey is a partisan place.

In the 2006 Barrett case which related to the granting of a pre-application, he had to give an 'ex tempore judgement' from (his photographic) memory and prepared notes over the Easter weekend (whilst the Royal Court was closed). This was because the pre-application was about to expire and proceedings had been so protracted by the defendants ... and the States would not give an undertaking not to determine a fresh planning application on the Wednseday week. Of course this would have rendered the current JD pointless and put justice out of reach...

Dave B - can you correct me if I'm wrong?

Chicken Legs

Small point- we are not part of the EU, so is this relevant?

Also, if it is that bad why are the other residents not joining in what must be a very expensive legal action?

If you buy a house opposite a huge greenhouse complex knowing it is trading as an agricultural/ horticultural business is it fair to start moaning when they try to enhance their business?

The whole thing is a ridiculous waste of money, and the States will have to pay to defend themselves in Court. Surely there is an open process to review such matters without resorting to such heavy handed tactics.


But often the loser has to pay costs...


'if it is that bad why are the other residents not joining in what must be a very expensive legal action'...?

I think you've answered your own question there, CL...!

I'd agree with many of the comments on here about the legitimacy of Ms Litchfield's complaint and consequent action, however, I would also have to say that Mrs Cameron's conduct during this process is classically A-typical of her Department, that is, slow to react, and in some cases, not at all!

I have had several experiences with this Department under Mrs Cameron's watch, and each and every time they are a constant source of disappointment, either failing to act at all, or, having done so, making no findings or progress whatsoever to address the issue.

I could write this off as 'typical States Department' style behaviour, however, Mrs Cameron was brought in on licence, at, no doubt, considerable expense to the island, to share the wealth of her knowledge and experience, and I would have hoped she might have thought it only right to earn her considerable crust by actually doing the job she is paid to do, not just fall into line and follow suit.


If you wish to inform yourselves of all of the circumstances building up to this request for a review, please take a look at my blog:

Thank you Dave B, I will make sure that Nick is aware of your case.


guernsey hold your head in shame

Hope you win Helen



You're always banging on about the Guernsey of yesteryear, wasn't it covered with vineries???

Island Wide Voting


It still is.The only difference is that they have deteriorated so much since the PB FALLA golden era that they have become positive eyesores in many cases

Not exactly tourist attractions unless you are interested in gazing in wonder at the largest blackberry bushes and other assorted weeds north of the equator

At least now that the dinosaurs on the old Agriculture and Horticultural Committee have been kicked into touch Commerce and Employment are ever so gradually getting around to realising

that the land these monstrosities are sitting on could be put to better use ( and I don't mean growing bloody cabbages Rosie)

The States in this 21st century computer age still work at a glacial pace so watch this space over the next three or four years

Terry Langlois

So take one vinery which is not a collapsing eyesore, but is an operating business carrying on the age old tradition of Guernsey growing, and nothing to do with the finance industry. Add in the fact that it is trying to enhance its business, so that it can continue to carry on that tradition from the "good old days"...

and who does PB Falla come out in support of???

the neighbour

sometimes I wonder whether even PB Falla knows what he wants or what his opinions are


PB FALLA you are a shambles ;)



They are not acting within the law

Simples really,ok so we know places like finance ignore laws and launder money and help people avoid tax deprieving many countries of tax to support men women and children but as you seem to think thats ok your post does not surprise me.

A well run vinery within the laws no problem


Point being ?

Helen Litchfield

This is not an attempt to put hard working growers out of business - this is an attempt to ensure that their new heating system works within the parameters of the law so that the health of those in the vicinity is not put at risk.

They have bought a machine that is designed to burn clean wood chip pellets - there is nothing at all stopping them from burning these.

However, they have chosen to use wood supplied by a skip yard, wood that is contaminated and that requires compliance with the Waste Incineration Directive to burn safely.

If it turns out to be the case that they have been given incorrect advice by their energy consultant, Craig Shorto, then I am sure they will take the matter up with him.

If, as Mark intimated to me, they have been given false assurances by Environmental Health, again, I am sure they will have an avenue of redress.

What is not acceptable is that the laws should be ignored to accommodate them.


Well done Helen I think too many were missing the point here. You have now explained your reasoning, good luck with this as everyone should be made aware of the wood that is being fed to this sight, its not sorted and never will be, it is painted, treated you name it piled and piled at the local Waste site and shredded daily a total botch job as usual. GOOD LUCK