Jersey's Foreshore policy deemed as "flawed" by scrutiny panel

The foreshore, which is the land that sits between the low and high tide marks, was gifted to the public in 2015. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Jersey government's policy on the island's foreshore is 'fundamentally flawed'.

That is the view of a scrutiny panel in the island. The foreshore, which is the land between the low and high tide marks, was gifted to the public in 2015. Islanders have previously been fined if their properties encroach on the foreshore.

The Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel says the revised policy, put forward by Deputy Lewis, lacks 'essential detail', including where the boundary line for encroachment is.

The evidence gathered during our review concludes that the revised policy being proposed by the Minister for Infrastructure’s is not clear or transparent. There is a unanimous view shared amongst those who contributed to the review that it is an unfair and discriminatory approach.

Constable Mike Jackson, Chair of the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Panel

The review was launched in September 2020 with the panel looking to focus on the following areas:

1. The history of the ownership of the foreshore 2. The definition and establishment of the foreshore boundary 3. The impact of current encroachments on Jersey’s sea defences 4. The approach taken in seeking compensation payments 5. Whether the revised policy is fair, proportionate and fit for purpose

In particular, the panel said there was "sustained uncertainty" over the foreshore boundary as well as the land defined as ‘publicly owned foreshore land’. It also said the public have not been provided with a map that shows the boundary line or a justification as to how it was decided.

One of the other findings is that the policy does not provide a suitable complaints or appeals process. The panel says the Infrastructure Minister should incorporate a suitable and workable mechanism within a revised policy.

The panel is urging the Infrastructure Minster to reflect on the its findings and recommendations and "bring forward a revised policy which reflects a more clear and fair approach”.

The current debate on the policy will take place in the States Assembly on the 9th of February.