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P&R not convinced £12m. for Alderney runway is best value

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POLICY & RESOURCES has questioned whether a £12m. proposal to revamp Alderney’s runway offers best value for money.

(Picture by Adrian Miller, 23722979)

The project goes to the States for approval next week.

P&R is disappointed that the option of a ferry service to replace the historic obligation for Guernsey to run an airfield was dismissed with little or no detailed analysis.

‘Given the lack of a comprehensive options appraisal on Alderney connectivity, and while the committee acknowledges that the proposed solution offers best value in terms of the options for refurbishment of the runway, it has not been not possible to assess whether the proposed option provides the best value for money overall,’ it said.

It has placed an amendment to the States’ Trading Supervisory Board proposal so that more work is done to prove value for money before the case is released.

‘Given the reliance of Alderney on its transport links, the Policy & Resources Committee is of the view that it is inevitable a reasonable level of public funding will be required to contribute towards the provision of appropriate levels of connectivity for Alderney. It needs to be understood and decided what all these costs are, who is responsible for them and how they are to be funded.

‘The committee therefore believes that the decision in relation to this project must be made in the context of discussions of how the 1948 agreement [which details the financial relationship between the islands] will need to evolve to meet the challenges of delivering public services in the 21st century.

‘To put the proposed expenditure in context, the recent project to rehabilitate the Guernsey airport runway cost a total of £69.85m., equating to some £1,120 per capita for the population of Guernsey. While acknowledging that the per capita spend is always likely to be higher in Alderney given the small population and the requirement for essential infrastructure, the runway project is expected to cost £12.2m., which equates to approximately £6,140 per capita based on the latest population data.’

The per capita cost of the Alderney deficit is more than £4,000, according to the 2019 Budget.

‘In proposing this amendment, the Policy & Resources Committee, while enabling the project to proceed as planned, is seeking to ensure that in reviewing and approving the full business case, the Policy & Resources Committee also takes into consideration: any evidence regarding the likely return on investment provided by the States of Alderney’s economic development strategy; the results and any publicly-borne costs of the current exercise to establish a public service obligation for Alderney; and a holistic understanding of the economic and fiscal linkages between the islands including the ongoing financial obligations for the maintenance of the asset following the review of the 1948 agreement and the future relationship between the islands.’

Nick Mann

By Nick Mann
author

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