THE formation of the Coastal National Park has taken another step forward. The Department of the Environment has invited fifty people, representing a wide range of organisations and interests to work together on how the national park will work in practice.
The first workshop takes place on 13March. The day-long event will look at what’s already happening that contributes to the National Park aims and what else could be done to make the park a reality for those that live and work in it, and visit it.
Among those invited are representatives from marine and fishing groups, heritage groups, business organisations, parish representatives, agriculture as well as recreational and land management organisations.
The Coastal National Park covers parts of Jersey’s coastline and countryside considered to be of local, national or international importance. These include Jersey’s south west headlands, St Ouen’s Bay in the west, the north coast, St Catherine’s Bay and part of Grouville Bay in the east, and the offshore reefs and islets, including the Écréhous and the Minquiers.
It was established to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of Jersey’s special areas and to give the public more opportunity to understand and enjoy these special qualities.
The first workshop will start the process of fleshing out the practical realities of how the park will work. The Department of the Environment is working closely with individuals, community, amenity, business and special interest groups within the park boundaries or affected by it.
The Minister for Planning and Environment, Deputy Rob Duhamel, said: ‘The Coastal National Park provides a huge range of benefits that are beyond monetary value and are becoming even more important as the rate of change in Jersey and the wider world accelerates.
‘This is the next stage in developing how the park will operate in partnership with the communities and businesses in and around it. They provide the skills and economic context needed to maintain and enhance this special part of Jersey, but they also have their own needs – personal, business and community – and these all play a part in how the park will work.’
He continued: ‘Ultimately, our challenge is to pass on the Coastal National Park – its environment, cultural heritage, communities and economy – for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations in as good or better state than it is today.’
Parts of the Jersey coast and countryside are considered to be of local, national and international importance. St Ouen’s Bay has been recognised for the unique character of its natural environment for more than 40 years.
In 1968 the St Ouen’s Bay Development Plan studied the bay in detail. Ten years later the States designated St Ouen’s Bay as a ‘Special Place’. The designation was intended to protect and enhance its natural environment, through positive land management, with a strong presumption against significant and inappropriate development.
A public consultation on the proposal for a national park for Jersey was carried out in March 2009. The Planning and Environment Department asked Islanders for their views on the plans through a questionnaire and followed that up with two stakeholder workshops held in March 2009. The States voted to approve the Coastal National Park in 2011.
The Coastal National Park covers 1,925 hectares in Jersey as well as the offshore reefs and islets, above mean high water. These include the south west headlands, St Ouen’s Bay in the west, the north coast, St Catherine’s Bay and part of Grouville Bay in the east, and the offshore reefs and islets of Les Écréhous (including the Paternosters and Dirouilles) and Le Plateau des Minquiers.
The Coastal National Park’s importance for biodiversity is recognised through international and national designations. It contains three Ramsar sites, eight ecologically sensitive areas and a number of sites of special ecological, geological and archaeological interest
The park’s importance to Jersey’s heritage is reflected in the number of people involved with heritage groups and organisations and the range of museums or sites that celebrate the area.
The park is also considered to be a tourism asset for Jersey. A significant proportion of Jersey’s 689,700 visitors in 2011 were likely to have visited one or more parts of the national park for relaxation, sport or leisure.