Future of Les Vardes not just economics – E&I president

ENVIRONMENTAL and social factors will be important when it comes to deciding the future of Les Vardes quarry, Environment & Infrastructure president Lindsay De Sausmarez has said.

Environment & Infrastructure president Deputy Lindsay De Saumarez at Les Vardes Quarry, which is still in use. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin)
Environment & Infrastructure president Deputy Lindsay De Saumarez at Les Vardes Quarry, which is still in use. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin)

Quarrying is still going on at the site, but as it reaches the end of its life, debate about its future has been raging.

A water reserve or storage for inert waste have been suggested, but Deputy De Sausmarez said that at the moment, the site still had some constrained quarrying rock left, although the plant would need to be moved to access it.

‘Les Vardes represents some exciting opportunities and whatever it is I would very much hope we would be maximising the benefits,’ she said.

She said the site was safeguarded for water storage but would not necessarily be used for this.

‘It would be a very significant water reserve indeed if it was used for that.

‘Long-term water storage is increasingly important in the context of climate change. We don’t know exactly how it will effect us but modelling suggests we need more resilience in long-term water reserves, and other jurisdictions are doing the same,’ she said.

The large water reserve could mean less reliance on smaller reserves, which are more expensive to run.

Deputy De Sausmarez said the site also had potential for storing inert waste.

‘We’re always going to need to have a site for the disposal of inert waste as it is not possible to recycle or re-use 100% of it.’

She emphasised the future of the quarry was not confirmed but, either way, there would be benefits for the island.

‘No decision is about to be made – we need more time and don’t have enough information to make a fully informed decision for the most appropriate future of Les Vardes.

‘We are working on exploring options and collating more information but we are not in the position to make that decision yet.’

Concerns of people living nearby are being taken into account, and Deputy De Sausmarez said the States did not want to make a superficial decision.

‘Whatever decision the States makes, environmental and social factors will play an important part – it’s not just about the economics of the case. This is a really important point to make,’ she added.

‘It is fair to say whether Les Vardes is used as a water reserve or for inert waste, there would be benefits to the island.’

It is hoped the nature trail at Les Vardes would be retained.

‘It is a wonderful example of local environmental benefits. I extend my thanks to Ronez as they are very committed to that type of project and are committed to doing things in a similar vein at Chouet.

‘Many former quarries make contributions to the island’s biodiversity and many are biodiversity hotspots in their own right.’

It has been agreed negotiations about Les Vardes will continue with the States as politicians weigh up benefits and costs to make a decision.

. Ronez is planning to move its quarrying operation to Chouet headland, while it completes stone extraction at Les Vardes.

The company is holding a public exhibition and drop-in session to explain its plans today. It will be held at the Peninsula Hotel from 1 to 8pm.

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