Archive for February, 2009

Free parking is a bizarre anomaly in today’s world

February 27th, 2009 by Jo

At last, a flash of realism and good, down-to-earth common sense from an intelligent and thoughtful politician.

John Gollop’s proposed amendment to the paid parking issue, suggesting a 50 pence her hour charge for all parking spaces throughout Guernsey, shows he is determined to solve the traffic problem in the quickest, most cost-effective way.

The only fair and equitable system is a genuine user-pays system, i.e. the more you park, the more you pay. What is wrong with that?

Free parking is a bizarre anomaly in today’s world. It is time Guernsey dispensed with it and introduced realistic parking charges that reflect the true cost of the land use.

Cars parked on the Albert Quay in St Peter Port

Report: Coping with Climate Change – Risks & Opportunities for Insurers

February 27th, 2009 by Richard Lord

The Chartered Insurance Institute’s third major study into the effects of climate change for the insurance sector, Coping with Climate Change – Risks and Opportunities for Insurers, looks at strategic issues that face the insurance industry from the perspective of UK-based insurance practitioners. Building on previous works on climate change by the Chartered Insurance Institute in 1994 and 2001, the study considers how climate change affects all aspects of the insurance industry, including its core functions of underwriting, claims handling, investment, and management, and examines the implications for customers in key market segments. It takes account of current scientific research in the field, relevant political initiatives, the recent experience of the insurance markets and developments in the global economy.

The Rocquaine Bay seawall toppled by the storm surge of 10 March 2008 - (click image to expand © RLLord)

The Chartered Insurance Institute determines that climate change increases the possibility of insurance market failure. Global warming may be compounding catastrophe losses by two percent per year.

A large wave from Havelet Bay spills over parked cars on 10 March 2008 - (click image to expand © RLLord)

We should introduce mandatory recycling

February 26th, 2009 by André

THERE is a lot of rubbish talked about rubbish. Why is it that when we are perfectly capable of buying and transporting home jars of jam, tins of soup and bottles of drink, we seem to find it so much of a problem taking the empty containers to a recycling site, even to the extent that some islanders are demanding a kerbside collection service? Unfortunately they have confused refuse (food waste etc.) with recyclable material. The old chicken bones and food leftovers must be dealt with by teams of professional waste-disposal companies (our bin men) in order to safeguard public health. The plastic bottles we rinse and recycle, however, do not require specialist contractors in order to find their way to the nearest recycling site. The same can be said for the glass and tins etc.

The States have given the island a 50% recycling target and quite right too. We have no more suitable holes in the ground and more to the point, no money (or appetite) for a huge incinerator. Surely then, to reach this target we must stop pussy-footing around and instead of the gentle persuasion, education and coaxing to recycle we have seen so far, we should introduce mandatory recycling. Quite simply it should be against the law to put currently recyclable materials into our dustbins.

Now, of course there are people who will ask how this might be policed. I believe that, in general, islanders are law abiding and that a change in the law would be the necessary motivation for those ordinary, decent people who have not quite ‘got around’ to recycling. The aim of mandatory recycling would be to rapidly increase the recycling rate in order to achieve our target.

There is a proven principle at work here – for example, the use of mobile phones while driving is fast becoming socially unacceptable due to the fact that common sense is upheld by the law. This same principle would apply to mandatory recycling. Of course a stiff fine for anyone who is found mixing their recyclables with their refuse would be a further incentive.

If States members are serious about achieving the 50% target, then they should at least consider this proposal, which would cost far less than pandering to those members of our society who wave the green flag but cannot be bothered to pop past their local recycling site on their way to the supermarket.

If anyone can give me a good reason as to why we should not adopt mandatory recycling, I would be interested to hear it. If I get a flood of emails from deputies pointing out a huge flaw in my idea, then I will perhaps have to rethink things. If not, however, I will have to assume that our elected representatives are not really committed to recycling and are just biding their time until the ‘big burner’ arrives.

Free parking is a key factor which encourages Guernsey to be so car reliant

February 23rd, 2009 by Rosie

Free parking at the North Beach car park in St Peter Port (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Guernsey Environment Department’s lack of enthusiasm for any paid parking scheme is evidenced in a telling comment they have included in the February 2009 Billet. “It has been argued that the introduction of paid parking diminishes Guernsey’s unique identity and character.”

Do they not see that free parking, along with cheap fuel, have been the key factors that have encouraged Guernsey to become so car reliant and do they not see the negative impact that that has had on our island? Despite our small size, we can now boast to have one of the highest ratios of cars per capita in the world…. if not the highest. Is that how we want our ‘unique identity and character’ to be viewed?

Free parking was a foolish policy from the outset. It was bound to encourage more cars onto our roads, and the consequential urbanising of the island. And it was bound to encourage a belief that driving should by rights, be a cheap form of travel with the obvious resistance when Guernsey has to eventually tackle the problem. It certainly is not a policy that we should feel a jot of pride for.

If Guernsey wants a traffic policy to be truly proud of… one that would give us our ‘unique identity’ and that would have us being congratulated for putting the good of the whole community and the island first, ahead of our individual desires, we should aspire to a free and plentiful bus service. Now that really would give as a ‘character’ to be proud of. To do that though, we need to conquer the aversion we have to making driving the expensive option and recognise that car driving, although necessary sometimes, is in fact a luxury.

Is paid parking right for Guernsey?

February 9th, 2009 by Adam Greenfield

A driver patrols the Albert Pier in St Peter Port looking for a parking space (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

For more than 70 years, most of the developed world has used paid parking to improve congestion, land use, air quality, the economy, and the environment. Transport advocate Adam Greenfield explains why Guernsey deserves not to be left out of the benefits of paid parking.

Can paid parking work for Guernsey?

Guernsey’s Environment Department proposal for paid parking

February 8th, 2009 by States of Guernsey Environment Department

The Guernsey Environment Department presents its paid parking proposals in the Billet D’Etat VII to be discussed and debated in the February 2009 sitting of the States of Deliberation.

The Environment Department’s Paid Parking Executive Summary reaches the following conclusions:

The States have approved the Road Transport Strategy and that strategy requires additional revenue funding. The States have agreed to the principle that paid parking should contribute to that funding and the States agreed that a sum of 15 pence per hour is appropriate. However, that sum was essentially targeted, at least initially, at long stay commuters of St Peter Port leading to an 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday parking scheme. This option has been seen by many as inequitable.

The Department has tendered solutions to deliver the States resolution and has taken steps to put the legislative framework in place. This has led the Department to conclude that insufficient funds would be delivered by the resolution of the States. In order to raise the required funds the Department considered a number of potential recommendations to the States as follows:

a.) To introduce an hourly paid parking fee at 15 pence per hour in accordance with the previous resolutions of the States save that the paid parking periods would be effective from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday inclusive.

b.) To introduce an hourly paid parking fee in accordance with the previous resolutions of the States such fee to be targeted at long stay commuters to St Peter Port and therefore to be effective from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday inclusive save that the hourly fee to be increased from 15 pence to at least 20 pence per hour.

c.) To introduce an hourly paid parking fee in accordance with the previous resolutions of the States save that the areas of paid parking would be extended to include disc controlled car parks throughout the Island.

d.) To rescind the States resolutions in respect of paid parking and to direct the Treasury and Resources Department to introduce an additional fuel tax of 1.2 pence per litre hypothecated to fund the transport strategy.

e.) To rescind the States resolutions in respect of hourly paid parking and to introduce an annual parking charge of £26 collected through the form of a renewable parking disc to be displayed in all disc controlled parking zones.

The Department is unanimous in its view that the latter option (recommendation e.) is the most cost effective, practical and acceptable option.

New energy efficient homes being built at the Sir John Leale Avenue development, St Sampson

February 6th, 2009 by Steve

Construction work has started on building 58 new energy efficient homes by Guernsey Housing Association off Victoria Avenue in St. Sampson.

The new homes are being built to very high insulation levels with heating and hot water costs reduced using solar panels and a heat recovery ventilation system. It is calculated that resident’s fuel bills should be half of what they would normally be.

Steve Williams, Guernsey Housing Association’s Chief Executive said ‘ We are using a combination of highly insulated Structurally Insulated Panels, triple glazed windows, solar panels, and keeping the warmth in the homes by sealing the gaps that heat normally escapes through. We have worked closely with the States Housing Department to try to reduce resident’s future fuel costs and benefit the environment.’

Construction has just started with JW Rihoy, who are aiming to finish the first 17 homes by September this year, and complete all 58 homes by September 2010. This is faster than normal mainly due to the use of the Structurally Insulated Panels.

The Housing Minister, Deputy Dave Jones said ‘ I am delighted to see the new homes under construction replacing the 3 storey flats demolished last year and as well as the energy efficiency the new homes have been designed specifically for people as they get older and their mobility reduces’.

There is a mix of 49 rented and 9 partial ownership first time buyer homes, with the rented homes being bungalows which include features allowing people with reducing mobility to remain living in them longer. These features follow the advice produced by Joseph Rowntree called Lifetime Homes principles, removing barriers to people with less mobility, hence no steps, wider doors, lower window cills and handles, rooms with space to turn a wheelchair if necessary, and a bedroom on the ground floor.

GHA is an independent not-for-profit company, but works in close partnership with the States Housing Department to help deliver the Corporate Housing Programme for the islands people.  GHA’s Directors are unpaid volunteers.