Decision for a shortened ‘bridging’ Island Plan to be examined
The Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel is to examine the Minister for the Environment’s proposal for a shortened 3-year Island Plan, as opposed to the anticipated 10-year plan.
The Panel will examine, in detail, the Minister’s rationale that given the uncertainty created by the current Covid-19 pandemic, the next Island Plan should serve as a shorter-term ‘bridging’ plan (2022-2024) between the current Island Plan and a future Island Plan (2025-2034). The Covid-19 pandemic has not only led to a delay in the development of a new Island Plan but has also prompted the Minister to re-evaluate the necessary elements which are included in the plan.
If approved, a shorter 3-year plan would ‘decouple’ itself from longer-term policies which are yet to be determined, such as a migration and population. The Minister’s rationale is that this would enable progress to be made to address key community planning challenges, within this term of government, in areas where there is still relative certainty (short-term housing needs, urban improvements, sustainable development). Where there is less certainty about the medium to long-term future, such as the economy and population, the Minister proposes targeted short-term interim policy, until the future Island Plan (2025-2034).
The Panel’s review will investigate what this will mean for Islanders, exploring any potential benefits and/or unintended consequences an interim shorter plan might have. The Panel will also evaluate the proposed decision to run a 12-week public consultation at the same time as the plan is lodged with the States for debate.
Connétable Mike Jackson, Chair of the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel, commented:
The Panel is keen to ensure that the proposed changes to the development process and their potential impact should be explored carefully, as well as ensuring that the public consultation process is not compromised on such an important piece of strategic policy as the Island Plan. We are particularly keen to explore how the revised plan will be ‘de-coupled’ from wider policy areas such as migration and population and what impact the new process will have on the prioritisation, or deferment, of projects, such as the provision of affordable housing for example.
The Panel will write to identified stakeholders, including the Minister for the Environment, in order to gather evidence relevant to its inquiry. Members of the public are also invited to make a submission and can do so by sending their submission to the States Greffe, Morier House, Halkett Place, St Helier, JE1 1DD or to email@example.com. Alternatively, submissions can be made online via the States Assembly website: statesassembly.gov.je.
Scrutiny News Release.