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It's just not cricket!

It's just not cricket!

Tuesday 21 April 2020

It's just not cricket!

It will be a "tragedy" if plans to fill Spur Point - home to the vulnerable scaly cricket, an internationally unique rock formation and rare ecological habitats - with inert waste go ahead, La Société Guernesiaise has said in a formal objection to the proposals.

La Société Guernesiaise is publicly objecting to the proposal to use Longue Hougue South for inert waste on the grounds of the site’s ecological and geological value.

The organisation has specifically highlighted that the area, also known as Spur Point:

  • supports an internationally important population of Atlantic scaly cricket, which are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, meaning they are at risk of extinction in the wild. This category also includes the African elephant and the snow leopard.
  • contains over 12,000m2 of eelgrass, an internationally important habitat which is valuable due to the diversity of species it supports and the ecosystem services it provides. It has an important role in the fight against climate change as it sequesters carbon dioxide more efficiently than rainforests and it is a nursery ground for many commercially important fish species. Whilst in countries like the UK, millions are being spent on restoring eelgrass beds, we should not be destroying ours.
  • contains an internationally unique rock formation - St Peter Port Gabbro. As well as the scientific importance of being able to examine such rock formations, this is also a draw for visiting geologists from around the world.
  • has an intrinsic value, both due to the wider wildlife it supports, as a site for recreational fishermen, for shore gatherers and ormerers and as a quiet beach to visit away from large crowds.

La Société believes the results of the detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted in 2019 do not provide a robust case that such a large-scale development at Longue Hougue South would have ‘limited and manageable environmental impacts’.

Longue Hougue wildlife Guernsey Marine Life

Pictured: Longue Hougue South is home to some important wildlife. A wider story on that HERE.

Laura Bampton, Chair of La Société’s Scientific Committee, said the proposed development will lead to the permanent loss of this site, all for a temporary storage site for waste.

“Spur Point is extremely ecologically and geologically valuable," she said. "To needlessly destroy a pristine habitat like this would be a tragedy for Guernsey “

Longue Hougue South was selected as the preferred site for inert waste following an Options Screening. La Société added that the process did not follow UK best practice and took no consideration of important species or habitats. If it had, the organisation stated that Longue Hougue South would have been dismissed due to these “significant environmental constraints".

Alternative options do exist, including an increase in recycling of inert waste and the temporary stock piling of waste until long term storage becomes available (currently proposed as either Les Vardes or Longue Hougue Quarry).

La Société is urging that the BPEO and EIA processes are revisited, and that the States considers more sustainable solutions to dealing with the island’s inert waste.

Pictured top: Spur Point’s population of the at-risk Atlnatic scaly cricket was studied by local and visiting experts last year.

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