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Air, sea and prices on States' agenda

Air, sea and prices on States' agenda

Thursday 21 April 2022

Air, sea and prices on States' agenda

Thursday 21 April 2022


Air and sea transport and the cost of living were among the issues discussed at a meeting of the States of Alderney yesterday afternoon.

Politicians gave the clearest indication yet that they expect the States' Trading Supervisory Board - a committee of the States of Deliberation in Guernsey - to recommend significantly lengthening Alderney's runway as soon as next year.

States' member Alex Snowdon asked the President of the Policy & Finance Committee, Bill Abel, about widespread disruption to Aurigny's flight schedule which affected the island over the long Easter weekend. 

Mr Abel said that Aurigny had handled the problems "competently" and in particular praised the company's communications. But he added that "this significant outage underlines our concern with regard to the resilience of the current two-plane strategy”.

Aurigny Dornier

Pictured: Aurigny currently files Dornier aircraft to Alderney but technical problems hit the service last weekend.

"“The Guernsey Airport project team has now put their recommendation to the States' Trading Supervisory Board and this is now under review," said Mr Abel.

"It is apparent that there is support from the Board for option C - a longer runway - which would allow ATR 72s to service the island and allow Aurigny to operate a single aircraft fleet with significant savings for the States of Guernsey."

Mr Abel said he had been pleased to hear Deputy Peter Roffey, the President of the Board, urging political colleagues in Guernsey to back the Board and make improvements to Alderney's runway next year.

"That runway is failing and if we get too many more failings we may not have a runway at all," he said.

bill_Abel_alderney.jpg

Pictured: Bill Abel, the Chairman of the States of Alderney's senior committee, Policy & Finance.

In other transport business, Mr Abel did not rule out the States buying a ferry if demand exceeds capacity on the current ferry, The Salty Blonde.

States' member Steve Roberts asked whether "perhaps now is the time for Alderney to look at buying a 25-seater...to carry us over the capacity problem which we may well have this year until a decision is made about a longer runway...to look at buying a boat on our own and getting an operator to run it for us?" 

Mr Abel said that his Committee and the Economic Development Committee were "still looking at it as an option", but he made no commitments about the operation of the ferry service beyond the end of this year.

Alderney Harbour

Pictured: Questions were asked in the States about the future of ferry services in Alderney.

Mr Snowdon also asked Mr Abel about pressure on the cost of living in Alderney and whether the States could provide additional relief for residents affected by significant increases in the price of essential commodities.

Mr Snowdon said that food often costs 18% more in Alderney than in Guernsey and Mr Abel said that energy costs were around three times higher in Alderney than in Guernsey.

"These are potentially exceptional times calling for exceptional measures," said Mr Snowdon.

Alderney rep Alex Snowdon

Pictured: Alex Snowdon, who also represents Alderney in the States of Deliberation in Guernsey, asked a range of questions at yesterday's meeting of the States of Alderney.

Mr Abel appreciated that this was a difficult period of prices rising quickly. But he was not optimistic about the scope for the States of Alderney to provide further assistance by increasing expenditure or foregoing income - for example, through tax relief measures.

"Certainly, the increasing cost of food and fuel will and is, I think, having a significant impact on our community," said Mr Abel.

"The Policy & Finance Committee has already discussed the situation with Alderney Electricity Limited [AEL] and AEL was requested to determine what could be done to contain costs in the light of rapidly rising fuel prices.

"AEL is managing to contain costs for a period of time, mainly depending on fuel prices and also without compromising its ongoing viability, which is extremely important to the island.

"With regard to providing the island’s residents with a rebate, as I’m sure everybody is aware, the States do not run on a deficit basis, and any relief from taxes in the short term would need to be compensated for in the medium term.

"I would say it’s going to be extremely difficult given our fiscal and financial status. Alderney has to live within its budget and tax regime."

Alderney_Holocaust.jpg

Pictured: The book 'Adolf Island' has recently been published offering a fresh perspective on events in Alderney during the Nazi Occupation 80 years ago.

The States of Alderney also backed the latest proposals to reduce the voting age to 16.

And questions were asked and answered about civil service reform, the potential FAB energy link and activities which took place during the German Occupation of the island in the early 1940s. 

READ MORE...

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FOCUS: Searching for the truth about the Nazis in Alderney

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