It was a black day for a green sustainable future

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From Nick Palmer.

IT was a black day for a green sustainable future in the States on Wednesday when the House voted to commission a large incinerator.

Having listened to the whole debate, it has to be said that the major failings of too many Members were in not looking at the situation from a long enough perspective or with sufficient concern given to Jersey’s emerging international environmental responsibilities or with accounting for the effect of forthcoming global waste reduction strategies.

They were just being plain over-cautious and insular.

The plant is now with us for at least 25 years, during which time the world will be changing rapidly towards sustainability. It will become outdated well before its design life is over. I respect the reasonable fears that were voiced about the application of food waste compost to ‘potato land’, although the way the supermarkets are increasingly falling over themselves to change their approach to green and organic matters will probably render these fears inappropriate in short order.

The point that most convinced those who supported the proposition was the ‘reliability’ of the incinerator versus other technologies. Although other, more modern, technologies are proved by any reasonable criteria, Transport’s specifically incinerator-friendly criteria for reliability was the big Catch 22 of the debate.

An incinerator will undoubtedly be a very reliable method of waste disposal in exactly the same way as a state of the art horse and cart was very reliable transport at the dawn of the 20th century as the motor vehicle was starting to catch on. We are just on the threshold of new sustainable ways of doing things. Global environmental protection is now known to be an imperative, not merely desirable. This debate was the time to be just a bit brave and to look thirty years into the future, not merely five.

I have offered Frank Walker, as Chief Minister, this bet: ‘I bet you £10 that the incinerator will be seen as a disastrous decision within ten years max (9 July 2018). Deal?”

He has graciously accepted. Watch this space.


Rue des Hamonnets,

St Lawrence.

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