Jersey's natural resources are managed and used responsibly

Long-term perspective

The environment underpins every aspect of life in Jersey; clean air, fresh water, protecting the Island's resources and managing its waste, are all vital to Islanders' health, wellbeing and quality of life.

Accelerated climate change as a result of human activity is an urgent issue. Internationally, we have reached a turning point that requires an immediate response which policy makers  must consider without delay for the sake of future generations. The effects of global climate change on Jersey are likely to be serious. As a community, we have a part to play in the international mitigation efforts to reduce the extent of climate change and must act to minimise the impacts of climate change on our Island.

Medium-term focus: the Government Plan 2020-23

A Government Plan 2020-23 priority is to protect and value Jersey's natural environment. It proposes investment in conservation, protection, sustainable resource use and demand management and commits to tackling the climate emergency and moving Jersey quickly towards becoming a sustainable, low-carbon jurisdiction. It includes a specific focus on changing behaviours in respect of pollution and waste, delivering a new, more sustainable approach to waste management, investment in waste facilities and incentives to reduce the production of plastic waste.

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It is estimated that air pollution in the UK reduces the life expectancy of every person by an average of six months. It is easy to take Jersey’s clean air for granted but it is a key aspect of Islanders' quality of life

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Looking at the quality of soil is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is a vital link in the ecosystem that supports Jersey's unique natural environment, so treasured by Islanders. Maintaining and improving soil organic matter (SOM) is also of key importance to the productivity of agricultural soil, and therefore essential to Jersey's farming industry; its famous cows and resulting dairy industry, and the host of crops grown in the fields and cotils, including Jersey Royals. Half of Jersey's surface area is currently farmed commercially.

SOM also has a role to play in counteracting global warming. Increases in SOM can help carbon dioxide removal by acting as a carbon sink, and therefore helping Jersey meet the demands of international protocols to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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A healthy, good quality water environment is vital for the health and wellbeing of all those who live on the Island, as well as its visitors. It is essential for a healthy and functional natural environment, for recreation and to support Jersey’s economy. We all need to ensure that the water that we use, and the way in which we use it, is sustainable.

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Reducing the amount of waste we produce is not only good for the environment, but also has economic merit. The less waste we have, the lower the cost for treatment and disposal. An internationally-agreed waste hierarchy sets out a model for managing waste. At the most desirable end of the spectrum, no waste would be produced at all. The least-favourable option in the hierarchy is to simply take whatever waste is produced and dump it somewhere. In between are the options of reducing waste, reusing materials, recycling and recovering energy from waste.

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The States Assembly has agreed that a climate emergency exists and is likely to have profound effects in Jersey.  The Council of Ministers has heard, and acknowledges, the strength of public feeling about climate change, and the States Assembly’s ambition that Jersey should play its part in addressing this fundamental challenge. While our contribution to worldwide emissions is small, we have a unique opportunity, as a small jurisdiction, to show global leadership and help chart the course to a more sustainable future.

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