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Protest walk highlights potential changes to green belt legislation

Alderney | Published:

AROUND 120 residents and visitors turned out for a walk to demonstrate against proposed changes to Alderney’s green belt legislation.

Former States member Barbara Benfield organised a walk to express worries about the possibility of major development on protected land.

Protestors strode out from the Nunnery on Sunday 19th August and along Longis Common to express concern about major development potentially being permitted on the island’s Designated Area.

The States has put a green paper out for consultation which includes changes to section 12 – the law which currently operates a blanket ban on any development on the area, except for work by the States and a handful of public utilities.

It proposes that the aforementioned organisations should now be compelled to seek planning permission and undertake the appropriate environmental impact assessments. But more controversially, it incorporates legislation for a ‘gateway’ for planners to permit development to take place in the green belt.

That would see the Policy and Finance Committee voting on whether the development would be of overwhelming importance and if so, put it to the States for a vote.

If the States agreed, the developer could then submit their application to Building and Development Control for approval.

Walk organiser, former States member Barbara Benfield, argued that giving the BDCC the power to make such a decision was ‘not democracy’ and ‘could not happen’.

‘The green belt is protected for a reason,’ she said.

‘Our open spaces, wildlife, flora and fauna are some of the only things Alderney has left to offer our visitors. Please, please do not let this happen – the land use plan procedure works and should not be changed, all that is required is for the BDCC to incorporate the utilities and States into the procedures already in place – you do not need to open our beautiful island to major development.’

Ms Benfield stressed the walk was not related to issues around the proposed Fab cable link.

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