Guernsey Press

Vision in article is not net zero at all

FOLLOWING his article on net zero – U-turn if you want to [Guernsey Press 29 February 2024] – I hope that the next time Andy Sloan walks around Saumarez Park he takes a look at the ploughs out on the grass behind the Folk Museum.


When I was a child my father used such ploughs to work the land on his small, rented farm at Les Hubits. He had two cart horses, one a Clydesdale, to work the land, and no tractor. The horses ploughed then scarified the fields before they were sown by hand. Then the fields were rolled afterwards.

Fields of mangold wurzels (beet) were thinned by men on their knees and afterwards the rows were weeded by hoes.

Horse-drawn machinery was used for cutting the cornfields and mowing the grass. But scythes were used on occasions. Pitchforks were used to load the hay carts to take the corn sheaves or dried hay back to make stacks nearer the farm.

The hedges were cut by hand-held hooks. Ragwort and dock weeds were dug up with a hand-held dock weeder.

The cattle were milked twice a day by hand. The cows (with horns then) were pegged out to grass with ropes and chains and moved during the day.

And all that hard work could only support a small farm with a handful of cows.

Will we have to go back to those days in order to deliver a ‘net-zero sustainable Guernsey’ – with restrictions on fertilisers, restrictions on pesticides, restrictions on weedkillers, 10% or more of each farm to be planted with trees and 10% or more land to be set aside for ‘sustainable wildlife’?

Because these are but a few of the many requirements in the Welsh Labour government’s dystopian Sustainable Farming Scheme coming into force in 2025 (the document is 167 pages).

European farmers have been protesting over the excessively restrictive environmental rules. In France, President Macron has put a pause on the new pesticide bans and withdrawn a tractor fuel tax hike after the French farmer protests.

And will the 20mph speed limit be imported from Wales as well? It makes you wonder what the Better Transport Plan for the north of the island will be making us do?

The vision in Andy Sloan’s article is not net zero at all. All we are doing is off-shoring our carbon footprint, because there is a huge amount of energy used in the production of all our many imports.

Maggie Perkins (nee Mauger)

Les Corneilles

Rue de la Ronde Cheminee