Have we been doing enough? No.
Quite frankly, no. They haven't. It's mostly at this point been "talk" and "conversations" and waffle rather than actually producing a plan. Once we've stopped tackling this pandemic (which is coming really soon), the Government needs to be all hands on deck on tackling climate change and a large number of real policies need to be focused around how they will help the island to achieve carbon neutrality. Every sector that contributes to carbon emissions should be identified and plans produced, with clear implementation timelines before 2030, about how carbon emissions are going to be reduced before then. This needs to start now, not next year after the May election, because climate change isn't waiting around for the next lot of States Members, it's happening now.
When the Government announced a new sustainable transport strategy would be in place by the end of 2019, it shouldn't have been rushed in and published at the last possible date, a bit like a schoolkid submitting their essay at the last possible minute before the deadline. And we're now nearly 14 months later still without any Active Travel Plan, Parking plan or Bus service development plan and who knows when those are going to be published, let alone implemented?
There has been no big ticket growth in funding for any climate zero projects as far as I can tell, yet the Government can spend £3,500 on speed limit signs in St Brelade when as far as I can tell, no speed limit signs have actually changed in St Brelade.
Last year the Government said by the end of 2020 they would have done a number of things in a "Strong Start". I know that Covid has interrputed that somewhat, but has it really had so much of an impact on the Transport department that barely anything they promised was even proposed. Lockdown only lasted like 3 out of 12 months if being generous, yet there haven't even been any plans. Surely in Covid times when we need to find alternatives to public transport like school buses would have been a great time to accelerate Active Travel policy (like has been done in London). Not really a strong start at all. I hope this isn't a foreshadow of what's to come in climate policy.
Where are the traffic free days in St Helier (the only one so far is Broad Street and that was quite a fiasco)? Where is the bus priority around Liberation Station? Where are the Eastern Cycle Route proposals?
Why the contribution is important
We need to stop make ambitious but empty gestures like "Carbon neutral by 2030" without actually then presenting detailed and ambitious plans. This is probably the most calm reaction ever seen to an emergency in history. We've seen in the pandemic what a reaction to an actual emergency looks like - a chief medical officer for Health, involvement from all branches of Government, not being afraid to spend some money. Climate change is going to have a much more long term impact on our future than the pandemic ever will, especially for a small island country like Jersey. We need to accelerate action and start putting deeds to words. 2020 may have disrupted our society, but it can't be used as a scapegoat. 2021 needs to have an actual Strong start, with the publishing of a comprehensive and detailed Sustainable Transport Policy that outlines where the funding is going to come from before 2030. We also need to make sure the Island Plan demonstrates how we're going to transition to more sustainable living and development over the next 9 years. Maybe repurposing the Normans countdown clock to show how much time we actually have left to get some action in our heads.
by Jerriaisjanne on February 24, 2021 at 05:10PM