Guernsey Press

‘We have kept the ship steady on energy security’

Two years after the 2020 General Elections, the main States committees have been sharing with the Guernsey Press what they think they have achieved and what their priorities are before the next election in summer 2025. The series continues with Environment & Infrastructure

Picture by Luke Le Prevost. 08-04-22..Scrutiny hearing with the Environment & Infrastructure Committee in the Castel Douzaine Room. L-R Damon Hackley (director of operations), Deputy Sam Haskins (vice-president of Environment & Infrastructure committee), Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez (president of Environment & Infrastructure committee) and Clare Barrett (director of Environment & Infrastructure). (31351642)

HOUSING, energy and infrastructure have been at the forefront of the committee’s focus in the first two years of this political term.

Our mandate covers a vast swathe of matters, big and small, that affect islanders’ everyday lives and will shape the future for generations to come.

Work is under way to address issues in the housing market, developing a scheme to help first-time buyers, reviewing the existing partial ownership scheme and looking at potential market interventions to improve the supply and access to appropriate accommodation.

We have also developed the in-house capability to model the amount and type of housing the island needs, providing useful, accurate and current data and saving taxpayers the expense of commissioning the work out every five years.

Few things are as important as energy security, and the committee has kept that ship steady in the current global sea of volatility.

Our teams worked with Guernsey Energy to ensure a smooth transition to how gas is supplied to the island, moving to a model of containerised importation that negated the need to commission new ships.

Meanwhile, we have established the Energy Partnership that brings together industry and government to deliver the aims of our energy policy, and help shape the electricity strategy, which will provide the necessary platform for public and private investment decisions to help secure clean, affordable energy for the island’s future – work that is powering ahead.

With respect to public transport, the committee reacted swiftly to the widespread shortage of bus drivers and put in place short- and long-term measures to minimise the impact on services.

We were also focused on ensuring that there was no disruption to bus services during the change in ownership of CT Plus, a major transition that went through without any issues.

The committee commissioned a review into the taxi service that was published last month, and it has wasted no time making immediate improvements while working with stakeholders on the bigger plan for systemic change.

Much of that work is also key to our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change – a top States priority after the committee’s successful efforts to ensure its inclusion in the Government Work Plan.

Another important climate change work-stream is exploring how to improve the energy efficiency of buildings – a piece of work that is ongoing and will come to the States in the first half of next year.

The committee has secured the island’s future aggregate supply with quarrying at Chouet, balanced by measures to compensate for environmental impacts.

We are working with others on the future of Les Vardes to determine the best way to balance Guernsey’s long term water management and inert waste requirements.

Finally the Nature Commission has been created to increase the resources available to support nature, bringing together public, private, and voluntary organisations.