People elsewhere who live far from the coast might dream of days on the beach and sessions in the surf, but we are all too likely to take what is so easily accessible for granted.
It is nevertheless the case that our coastline and the surrounding sea are precious assets which deserve not only to be appreciated, but also protected by every means possible.
This is where an important new initiative launched by the National Trust for Jersey – an organisation which has done so much over so many years to preserve Island heritage – enters the picture.
Under the leadership of its president, naturalist an environmentalist Mike Stentiford, the trust aims to raise awareness of the value of our coastline, to highlight the perils it faces because of development pressures, and to encourage Islanders to play their part in preserving the beauty of unspoilt coastal areas.
The initiative, dubbed ‘A Line in the Sand’, will begin in earnest with an event reminiscent of the Jersey Side by Side display of solidarity with the people of south-east Asia who suffered in the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami. Islanders will be invited to join hands and form a long line on the sand at St Ouen’s Bay stretching from Le Braye towards L’Etacq.
But it is clear that rather more than the symbolism of even massive public support for the demonstration on the beach will be required if sentiment is to be matched by tangible results.
Large parts of the coastline have already suffered despoliation by ribbon development and inappropriate development. In the face of population increase and the ever-pressing search for sites for new building projects, more tracts of wild landscape will surely be lost if firm action is not taken at a popular and political level.
Plémont headland, for example, remains at risk of development of some sort and elsewhere the natural coastal environment is being nibbled away by new units of domestic accommodation and extraordinary civil engineering works such as those at Beauport Battery.
The subtitle of the trust’s initiative could well be ‘Thus far and no further’. This is a message that a great many Islanders would applaud, which would-be developers must heed, and which States Members should most emphatically support.