Quarry red tape reflects poorly on States

READ Environment and Infrastructure’s report recommending that quarrying continues in the island rather than relying on expensive imports and it is to step into a parallel world where reason disappears and red-tape takes over.

Chouet was identified in 2005 as a strategic reserve of vital stone and aggregate. The Policy Council agreed to look at how future supplies could best be met in 2012 and a paper prepared in 2014.

A new body, the Environmental Policy Group, got involved and the following year Policy & Resources endorsed its findings that the headland could indeed be quarried. The year after that E&I got its hands on the report and it, too, agreed Chouet was the ideal location.

Nothing then happens until 2019 when, belatedly, government switches on to the fact that reserves at Ronez’s existing Les Vardes site are running out – that will happen around 2023 if not earlier.

By then, E&I says its information – the same it had sat on for years – was out of date and needed revising. Ronez, alarmed by its lack of reserves, approached Development and Planning for a development framework.

That started – and then stopped because people who know little about quarrying say Guernsey shouldn’t exploit its own mineral resources but should instead buy them in.

Now, eventually, next month the whole States will decide whether the process started in 2005 to enable a long-established local business to continue mining stone, employing Guernsey people and supplying the local construction industry, should reach its obvious conclusion.

That's 16 years after Chouet was earmarked for use. E&I concludes its Billet report on quarrying by saying 'there is now urgency in establishing the principle for future aggregate supply.’

Quarrying is an industry that requires millions in investment and long-term planning, so the way this crucial issue has been fumbled by government is a disturbing example of how process and red tape can trump economic and commercial necessity.

The only saving grace here is that E&I has finally confirmed by a majority the common-sense decision to go ahead at Chouet.

Most Read

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News