A meeting of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee took place on Thursday, 15 March 2018, in the Council Chamber.
Members were introduced to the new Head of Property, Derek Pedley. Derek, who is appointed on a three-year contract, has a fair amount of work earmarked for him around imminent issues including crown estates, housing and land. Although Derek has vast experience in other fields, it will be his legal background that will be essential as the Directorate addresses a positive way of moving forward in resolving current issues.
Environmental Risk Manager, Mike Durnford, gave an update on Horse Point Landfill Site (HPLS). Members commended the positive feedback that was received on the operating hours of Horse Point. Mike also stated that HPLS would remain open under these operating hours, and that members of the public are to be thanked for their cooperation in using the facility. This success now means that HPLS will continue to be open to the public at all times. However, members of the public who use this facility are asked to do so with care in the view of public safety.
Litter Management around the Island was one of the concerns raised by visiting tourists and, although it might go unnoticed by St Helena's community, there has been an increase of litter around the Island. Suggestions as to how this can be addressed were discussed and, under the new Environmental Protection Ordinance (EPO), heavy fines should be implemented to deter anyone from littering. A Litter Campaign would also be useful as it would work twofold by having students from the schools collaborating with the department and participating in the campaign whilst also educating themselves about being litter conscious.
The Waste Management Strategy was discussed and from this it was decided that a new policy be implemented, as it is the policy that provides guidance to Legislative Council members to allow them to make decisions on the strategy already in place.
Isabel Peters and Vanessa Williams then gave a presentation on the Policy for Plant Propagation, the collection and distribution of Endemic &Native plants. This would allow native plants to be exported from the Island but would see protection enforced under section 21 of the EPO to safeguard the Island's endemics. This would give recognition to the 45 endemic species that the Directorate have registered on-Island and allow for exportation of endemic plants for scientific uses only to registered gardens or centres such as Kew Gardens.
The Commercial Vehicle Parking Survey for Jamestown was discussed where Councillor Dr Corinda Essex explained that in order to complete the parking policy for Jamestown, a review must be made of the commercial vehicles that are used in Jamestown. This would enable the Directorate to work with the Highways Authority in locating a possible area where these commercial vehicles can be parked so as not to cause issues with other vehicle users within the Jamestown area. These questioner/survey papers will be passed onto the operators/owners of commercial vehicles in Jamestown in due course.
The final item on the agenda was the presentation of the draft Building Regulations 2018 by the Chief Planning Officer (CPO), Riana De Wet, assisted by Nico Ellick and Cliff Richards from the Buildings team. The current Regulations are some 17 years old. The review and framework for the new draft regulations was undertaken by the previous CPO, David Taylor, ably assisted by the on-Island Technical Services Team. The new Regulations will meet current specification and be a lot more user friendly to assist today's builders specifically with the aid of drawings. The new draft will be presented to Elected Members soon for their viewing.
The Chairman reported that the Draft Road Traffic Regulations is progressing well and a copy will be circulated shortly once the final schedules are completed. However, some new application forms for drivers and vehicle licences etc still need to be finalised.
The minutes from the previous meeting were approved along with the financial briefing.
In the Director's report, members were notified that the Anaerobic Digester would not be applicable for the Island as we would not be producing enough waste to make this project viable. It was noted that it might be possible to look at two smaller projects working directly with the Piggeries on-Island.
There are ongoing concept discussions between ESH and ENRD on the current housing issue. ENRD anticipate that some decisions will be made soon that would allow some sort of movement to be made surrounding the use of the current CDAs at HTH and Bottom Woods.
There being no other urgent business, the meeting closed at 1.50pm.
Source: St Helena Government