2024 is a big year for Alderney with major progress expected on several fronts, according the Island’s senior politician, Nigel Vooght.
To continue to build on the policies put in place in 2023, the States is seeking to inspire people with something to offer to throw their hats in the ring at the general election scheduled for the end of this year.
An eight-minute film featuring the Policy & Finance Chair covers a ‘hierarchy of needs’ that were identified a year ago and are being worked through to lift Alderney’s social and economic prosperity in challenging times.
Based on the Island Plan drawn up in 2022, the foundations of a pyramid of objectives outlined by Mr Vooght are Transport, Care in the Community and Education. As these are being put in place, progressive policies in Energy and Housing form the next tier, with these all driving the top two tiers of an improved Economy and the Environment.
“Surrounding all of that is Good Governance – how we manage the island and how we work together as politicians,” says Mr Vooght in the film. “This is important in an election year as we seek to inspire more members of the Island community to stand for election.”
He identifies transport as an immediate priority with the planning application for the Airport Rehabilitation Project now submitted and the Environment Impact Assessment imminent. In addition, the Braye Harbour Development Plan is to be brought forward for public consultation in the coming weeks. A planned approach to developing sea links and the overdue airport rehabilitation is essential to take the island forward, he says.
In addition, an Integrated Care Strategy involving all services including the medical centre, hospital, care home, pharmacy and wellbeing services will provide a modern approach to providing a better service to the community. “It’s not about cost-cutting,” he emphasised, “this is about providing the best possible care on the Island, working jointly with Guernsey.”
In Education, a transferred service, the aspiration is to provide services that are “as good as any in Guernsey.” To that end the States of Alderney team is engaging with their counterparts in the larger island “to provide the sort of service that you would expect for your children.”
A new Housing Policy is being devised by the Building & Development Control Committee to provide the housing projects that Alderney needs for young families, essential workers and hospitality staff. “Without them, we don’t have an island,” Mr Vooght says.
On the Energy front, Alderney Electricity’s 3×3 policy – a third of the Island’s energy needs supplied by renewables within three years – is a vital part of the Island’s sustainability drive.
The new Economic Development Committee has spent 2023 building networks to discover what works and what doesn’t, and forging contacts with Guernsey and Jersey. “Now it’s up to them to set the policy and direction in terms of what they wish to achieve and how they might do so,” he says.
Finally, at the top of the ‘pyramid’ is the Environment. A new strategy for Nature and Agriculture is being brought to public consultation by the General Services Committee with an emphasis on sustainability and a goal of making Alderney more self-sufficient.
“We are looking at these issues in a detailed way and hopefully we’ll inspire people on the island to actually want to stand for election at the end of the year and help to drive these things forward in 2024 and beyond,” he concludes.