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Does the island need a biodiversity officer?

Readers' Letters | Published:

I WOULD like to say how much I agree with Annette Archer’s letter in Open Lines. (2 February)

Why do we need a biodiversity education officer? I have four questions regarding this position, which I hope someone from the relevant States department will answer.

1) What is the exact role of this person?

2) How much is this person being paid?

3) Which States department is paying for this?

4) Why was the position not advertised locally?

I think we are all aware of climate change and the impact that too much plastic is having on the planet.

With the wonderful work that is done by La Societe Guernesiaise’s marine biology section and education through the media, we can all do our bit to try to cut down on pollution.

I look forward to seeing the answers to my four questions.

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Brenda Terry

Maison Marivon,

Roue des Coutures,

St Martin’s,

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GY4 6HH.

Editor’s note: A spokesman for Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services responds: Thank you for the opportunity to respond to these questions and in so doing to clarify a number of points regarding this post.

1) What is the exact role of this person?

The post of biodiversity education officer was created to help deliver part of the Biodiversity Strategy, which was agreed by the States of Guernsey in December 2015.

The strategy has the support of relevant non-government organisations including La Societe Guernesiaise. Those same NGOs got together to form the Biodiversity Partnership Group, which advises the States on delivering the strategy. From a very early stage the group identified education about biodiversity as one of the most effective ways to achieve the strategy’s aims and it unanimously supported the appointment of a BEO.

The BEO is tasked with:

n Preparing and delivering an educational programme for schools which promotes awareness of biodiversity and encourages children to participate in projects which enhance biodiversity.

n Promoting and educating on the subject of biodiversity to a wide audience of individuals, groups and organisations to help to conserve Guernsey’s habitat and wildlife in both the marine and terrestrial environment.

n Developing links to businesses, schools, environmental/community groups etc. to promote and advise on projects that support biodiversity e.g. installing nest boxes, habitat creation, management of green spaces to increase floral diversity, promoting codes for the protection of wildlife.

n Working with parishes to help them prepare and implement their own action plans to protect and enhance biodiversity.

n Developing partnerships with relevant NGOs (including La Societe) and others to secure resources to support the implementation of action plans e.g. the recruitment and coordination of volunteers.

2) How much is this person being paid?

The current holder of the BEO post is employed by Environment Guernsey. The salary for this post is, rightly, a confidential matter between the employer and employee.

Environment Guernsey is a not for profit company which is wholly owned by La Societe Guernesiaise.

3) Which States department is paying for this?

Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services (which comes under the mandated responsibility of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure) provides a grant to Environment Guernsey to, amongst other things, run a comprehensive education and public information and awareness programme. Environment Guernsey has used some of that grant to fund this post.

The grant is paid from money voted by the States specifically to fund a programme of work in relation to the protection and enhancement of biodiversity on the Island.

4) Why was the position not advertised locally?

The role was advertised locally. A fully open recruitment process was used by Environment Guernsey, with oversight by ACLMS as the body responsible for the grant. The best candidate from among those interviewed was offered the role.

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