Compost test for ministers’ powers

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St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft says his proposal for the States to be allowed to debate the site and technology for a new composting plant will be the first test of the authority of the Council.

‘This is a sovereignty issue.

It should be for the States as a whole to make such major decisions on matters that affect the whole Island rather than individual ministers or the Council of Ministers,’ said the Constable.

Mr Crowcroft wants Members to back his call to stop Transport Minister Guy de Faye from taking any further steps in establishing a permanent composting facility pending a full debate on both the site and the technology.

But it is a proposal that will be vigorously opposed by Deputy de Faye and, almost certainly, his Council of Minister colleagues.

Any vote could be close as Members will no doubt consider that the Council of Ministers was split at four votes on each side when its members voted on whether La Collette or Warwick Farm off Queen’s Road should be the preferred site for the composting plant.

However, Deputy de Faye said that since that debate took place, the Planning department has indicated it did not support large sheds in the countryside and, as a consequence, Warwick Farm is no longer a potential site.

The Deputy also said that composting of green waste at La Collette was agreed as part of the Waste Strategy approved by the States last year.

And in response to the Constable’s assertion the debate would effectively be the first power struggle between the executive and the backbenchers, the Deputy said: ‘If this is about a power struggle, then it is entirely inappropriate.’ The Constable said Deputy de Faye had made it clear that his preferred site and technology for the proposed energy from waste plant will be brought to the States for debate but he is unwilling to treat the matter of composting in the same way.

‘He has also indicated he is not prepared to defer decisions over composting until the relevant Scrutiny Panel has completed a further review.

I believe both decisions, relating to incineration and composting, will have significant ramifications, not only on St Helier but for the Island as a whole, and if the States are to debate one part of the waste strategy it is logical for them to debate the other,’ said the Constable.

But Deputy de Faye argued that the Constable’s proposal includes debate on composting food waste, a technology dismissed by the technical experts.

He also said that the States had no power to make Planning decisions.

‘Ultimately it will be a Planning decision.

I am not going to have the department go to the time and expense of preparing an application for Warwick Farm that is doomed to failure,’ said Deputy de Faye.

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