Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel has published a report
on its Review of Nitrate Levels in Jersey’s Water. The Panel’s review has
assessed the measures proposed by the Minister for the Environment in the Water
Management Plan (WMP) for addressing the issue of nitrate levels.
The Panel’s review supports the evidence that shows that nitrate
contamination is having a clear and significant impact on Jersey’s public water
supplies, private water supplies and on the sea lettuce problem in St Aubin’s
Bay. Controlling nitrates at source is key to improving Jersey’s water quality
and we commend the Minister and his Department for the work undertaken in
producing the WMP and the ambitious targets contained within for addressing the
issue of nitrate levels. The Panel concluded that the objectives contained within
the Plan provide a good balance between what is desirable and what is
reasonable for a sustainable economy. However, in order to address the nitrate
problem affecting Jersey’s public water supplies, nitrate leaching will have to
reduce by 25-33% from 2016 levels. This degree of reduction will present a
significant challenge for the Minister.
The Panel has found that, due to
the ambitious measures contained within the Plan, the employment of at least
one new full time member of staff will be necessary to assume a compliance and
catchment officer role within the Environment Department. Without this
additional resource, it is not certain that the WMP will be successful in
delivering its objectives.
During the past year significant
progress has been made in addressing levels of nitrate due to a growing
commitment amongst all stakeholders to improve water quality and by working
closely together to achieve that goal. Undoubtedly, a collaborative working
relationship between the Government, the industry and Jersey Water is
fundamental to the overall success of the Plan in reducing high levels of
nitrate in the Island’s water. Thus, we recommend that the Environment Minister
ensures that all key stakeholders continue to work closely together throughout
the duration of the Plan in order to effectively address this issue.
The Minister for the Environment
will respond formally to the Panel’s recommendations in due course.