June 20th, 2011 by Deputy Dave Jones
News on 17th June 2010 that Guernsey airport contractors are to take over the Longue Hougue Reclamation site for an accommodation block and the storing of thousands of tonnes of material for the Airport contract has I believe severe ramifications for any future major industrial recycling initiatives.
Any private company wanting to offer this industrial service on an industrial scale, have now lost the only viable site in the near future where this operation could have been facilitated.
We have several private contractors who are willing to fund many hundreds of thousands of pounds of plant and equipment at no expense to the taxpayer to recycle thousands of tonnes of industrial and builders waste, much of which at present is going into Mont Cuet landfill site.
For months we have been told by the States of Guernsey Public Services Department (PSD) to wait for the waste strategy, well I mistakenly thought one of the major planks of the waste strategy was waste minimisation and increasing recycling, unless of course you wanted a mass burn incinerator which would make recycling less essential.
The site will effectively be taken over by PSD’s Airport contractors for an operation totally unconnected with waste management, with everything connected to that site effectively being put on the back burner by this move and the site will not be available on which to progress any waste management initiatives for approximately two years if the length of contract for the airport has been calculated accurately.
I am angry about this because this is the first time I have heard that Longue Hougue is to be used for this purpose and it would seem we can turn cartwheels for contractors who are coming into the island but we can do absolutely nothing for our own local contractors in terms of finding suitable sites for them to set up industries that would be hugely beneficial to the island.
All the supportive noises coming out of PSD over the last few months for an industrial recycling facility clearly don’t amount to a hill of beans, certainly if you take the only site where it can be carried out and allocate it for something else.
PSD have not offered publicly to support any alternative site and any contractors who are interested in getting this off the ground will be directed to the Environment department, who I suspect will tell them that the ideal place is Longue Hougue and there is not another suitable alternative site, so effectively NOTHING will happen.
The blighting of this site also means that even if PSD come back to the States shortly with an overall waste management solution, there will be nowhere to put it until Longue Hougue is vacated and in the end we will be forced to have an incinerator by default as we have run out of all other options with no other initiatives under way, leaving you with Suez MK2 perhaps,
A cynical person might find it very difficult to believe that all of this is not some weird coincidence.
It is also clear from a conversation I have had with the Deputy Minister of PSD on 17 June 2011 that he was unaware about the accommodation block being sited at Longue Hougue until it appeared in the press and presumably watching his Minister tell the rest of us on Channel TV.
Deputy Ogier is the deputy Minister of the PSD department and should be in possession of the same information as his Minister. Finally, the taking over of this site, should be a matter for the States to decide not just Treasury & Resources Department and PSD officials given the huge ramifications for swift progress on the waste management issues.