Charles Alluto called upon the government to recognise the reasonable costs of the park to enable it to plan for the future in the light of new proposals to extend its boundaries.
‘I don’t think it needs hugely significant funding,’ he said. ‘It just needs a healthy grant, much like grants already delivered to arm’s-length organisations like Jersey Heritage or ArtHouse Jersey, but it does need a reasonable sum of money.’
Mr Alluto was speaking ahead of the publication of the bridging Island Plan, which is expected to incorporate proposals to extend significantly the size of the coastal park to embrace additional land in the north and east of the Island, and also to include the Island’s beaches.
He said proposals included in the plan should present an opportunity for the Island to ‘take its responsibilities seriously’ in meeting the global challenge of sustainability.
‘I’m not saying that this journey is going to be easy but it’s about having a vision and an aspiration to deliver something exciting. As global citizens, we have a role and a responsibility to take that on board. Jersey’s biodiversity is suffering, without a doubt, and some species are locally extinct,’ Mr Alluto said.
Jersey’s coastal national park was created in the 2011 Island Plan, following a peaceful public protest in which thousands of Islanders gathered in 2009 on the beach in St Ouen’s Bay to make a line in the sand, setting out their commitment to help preserve the Island’s coastline.
But Mr Alluto said that the National Trust for Jersey had never believed that the boundaries set for the park were ‘up to scratch’ and they had been calling for them to be reviewed.
‘Why this is so important is that it creates the right baseline.
‘It gives the park substance, in that it seems like a reasonable area, whereas previously it felt very fragmented and not very well thought out. [The new proposals] set out criteria and establish a reasonable landbase for the park, and then it’s about how the national park body effectively manages it, and also celebrates and promotes it,’ he said.
He added that it was essential that the board of the charitable company charged with developing the vision for the park represented the community at large.
‘We’re saying that there’s a greater area that needs to be protected because it has enormous value, but what’s also really important is that national parks are driven by community.
‘It’s easy for us to say that we’ve got Ramsar or a geopark, which is UN
convention, but the national park is about the community itself saying it recognises the area is really important and wants to protect it, so we’re going to use our laws and our management practices to protect this area for the community.
‘I think that’s really important,’ Mr Alluto said.
Mr Alluto is the subject of today’s Saturday Interview on pages 10 and 11.