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Meeting today about runway after Alderney Reps tear into sursis

Meeting today about runway after Alderney Reps tear into sursis

Thursday 01 December 2022

Meeting today about runway after Alderney Reps tear into sursis

Thursday 01 December 2022


Alderney Representative Alex Snowdon is meeting two deputies behind an attempt to reorder debate on the Bailiwick's runways after accusing them of "playground games", "playing with people's lives" and leading "an attack on vital infrastructure" which could also "undermine relationships between Guernsey and Alderney".

The States’ Trading Supervisory Board and the Policy & Resources Committee want the States to back a £24million project to extend Alderney's runway by at least 170 metres as well as widening and refurbishing it and constructing a new terminal building to replace the current one built in 1968. Time ran out to consider the proposal at last week's States' meeting and it has been rescheduled to the next meeting which starts on 14 December.

Mr Snowdon, pictured top left, who is in Guernsey today, is talking to Deputies Yvonne Burford, pictured top right, and Heidi Soulsby, who have submitted a sursis motivé which attempts to defer a decision on the future of Alderney's airport until the States have decided whether to extend Guernsey's runway.

Alderney_runway_-_public_visit_v2.jpg

Pictured: People in Alderney at the island's airport viewing the degrading runway which successive States in both islands have agreed must be refurbished with or without an extension to its length.

In recent days, Mr Snowdon has been highly critical of the Deputies' sursis on social media. 

"Well done. Stop anything with Alderney airport runway and kick the can down the road. Absolutely ridiculous," said Mr Snowdon.

"[The] sursis [was] submitted last minute. [It's] awful to see such an attack on vital infrastructure so important to people's lives in the Bailiwick. Playground games.

"After such good relationships since staycation, I fear this will likely undermine the relationships between Guernsey and Alderney.

"Your Sursis stops everything. That's the problem. No options; just [a] dangerous runway in my opinion. This is playing with people's lives. Time has run out. A decision is urgently needed swiftly. What happens if the runway is closed down?

"[The] sursis is dangerous for the States of Guernsey [and] increases risks and liabilities for Alderney airport runway if approved. I suspect the Civil Aviation Authority are likely to be very concerned about this delaying sursis. Doing nothing is not an option. [The] sursis is trying to kick the can down the road. Risky gameplay."

Alderney Reps. Steve Roberts & Alex Snowdon

Pictured: Alderney Representatives Steve Roberts (left) and Alex Snowdon have made stinging attacks on the sursis submitted by Deputies Yvonne Burford and Heidi Soulsby, including accusing them of undermining relations between Alderney and Guernsey.

Steve Roberts, Mr Snowdon's fellow Alderney Representative in the States in Guernsey, has been equally critical of Deputies Burford and Soulsby and their sursis.

Mr Roberts said that the £24m refurbishment and extension proposed by the States’ Trading Supervisory Board and the Policy & Resources Committee and supported by the States of Alderney "is the only financial repay option".

"A sursis [is] not only irresponsible but dangerous, as Deputy Burford should well know and seems to have forgotten," said Mr Roberts.

"She will be remembered as destroying Alderney-Guernsey relationships, as she surely will. Friend of Alderney...never.

"Deputy Burford is wrecking our good relationship. The House is split and Alderney gets shot in the crossfire. Our love affair with our beloved sister Guernsey is dying, due to the lack of pure common sense. A massive split between our islands is imminent. Think again.

"Constant criticizing by some individuals of our island's worth is not easy to swallow and plainly wrong. We recognise our friends, but worry for our future now."

Alderney Airport runway money

Pictured: Deputy Burford said that it would be unwise to agree to spend £24m on Alderney's airport, including lengthening the runway, before a decision is made on whether to extend Guernsey's runway because of the unavoidable connection between the two projects.  

Deputy Burford told Express last night that Mr Snowdon approached her and Deputy Soulsby and asked to meet them today.

"Alderney Representative Snowdon asked Deputy Soulsby and I if we would meet with him when he is in Guernsey. We are more than happy to do so," said Deputy Burford. "We are always open to seeing if the same ends can be achieved in a different way which is more acceptable to all parties.

"There have been some rather unfortunate comments made on social media by Alderney. However, one must remember that the sursis hasn't been laid or debated yet. The current delay is due to a failure to move the debate on the Alderney airport policy letter up the agenda at the last States' meeting, something the Alderney Representatives could have proposed.

"The States will now have the opportunity at its December meeting to debate the sursis. If it considers that it represents too great a risk to introduce a short delay while waiting for what I consider to be vital information then the Assembly can, of course, reject the sursis.

"Both Deputy Soulsby and I realise that work is needed on Alderney's runway, but we also consider that decisions must be made in the correct order. If a decision is made in the next few months to extend Guernsey's runway, that ultimately puts Aurigny's future in doubt and raises questions over why we would extend Alderney's runway to accommodate Aurigny's fleet. I have always been a supporter of Alderney and I do not want to see a situation where they are left with no viable air service.

"Even if the £24m project is approved, and assuming costs don't escalate, work is not scheduled to start for 18 months and the current runway will need to be kept safely operational until that time, as is acknowledged by the States' Trading Supervisory Board. That maintenance would also apply in the case that the sursis is successful."

Deputy_Neil_Inder_runway_length.jpg

Pictured: The States are awaiting a much-delayed policy letter from Deputy Neil Inder's Committee for Economic Development on whether it recommends extending the length of Guernsey's airport. Express understands the Committee is divided on whether to recommend an extension.

Deputy Burford, a former commercial pilot, told Express last week that her sursis motivé was required so that decisions involving tens of millions of pounds were made in the correct order and to avoid commitments to spend large sums of money on projects which could quickly become unnecessary.

"The entire case for the proposed runway extension in Alderney hinges on the fact that the States own Aurigny, and Aurigny operate ATR72 aircraft on its regional network," she said then.

"The Committee for Economic Development is currently under resolution to bring a policy letter on the possible extension of Guernsey’s runway. It has been suggested in many quarters, including by the President of Economic Development, that an extension of Guernsey’s runway would likely result in Aurigny becoming uneconomic."

The Committee for Economic Development's work on whether to extend Guernsey's runway is months behind schedule.

A year ago, the Committee's President, Deputy Neil Inder, told a public scrutiny hearing that "what will be placed in front of the States in May or June [2022] will be a real, honest assessment of the benefits of extending that runway".

But the Committee has not yet published a report or a policy letter or made recommendations to the States' Assembly. Any debate on Guernsey's runway is now unlikely to be held until February 2023 at the earliest. 

READ MORE...

Deputy wants Guernsey runway debated ahead of Alderney runway

Alderney agrees runway project funding

Extending runway "win-win" - but P&R split on £24m scheme

Alderney runway policy letter expected by end of year

FOCUS: Debate on runway extension coming to the boil

Alderney public visit runway

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Posted by edward hill on
The ATR /Aurigny is one thing. They may or might not happen. Alderney needs to have the longer runway , if they default, to be able to a reasonable commercial proposition to another operator.
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