• 6 Nature reserves and 1 Sanctuary created to protect a unique blend of wild and plant life, including endemic species.

 

  • 20% of Ascension’s land now covered by special measures to reduce the threat to vulnerable species.

 

The UK Overseas Territory of Ascension Island has committed 20% of its land area to the protection of a diverse range of animal and plant life. The South Atlantic territory, which lies midway between Brazil and Africa, is home to some of the region’s largest sea turtle and seabird nesting colonies, as well as many unique species of plants and invertebrates. On 28 July, His Excellency Mark Capes, Governor of Ascension, enacted legislation that created seven new nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries to complement the one existing national park.

The Island’s three main turtle nesting beaches, which together support more than a half of all green turtle nesting in the South Atlantic Ocean – as many as 25,000 nests per year – are among the sites protected. The dramatic seabird nesting colonies of the Wideawake Fairs, Boatswain Bird Island and the Letterbox Peninsula, home to more than 800,000 nesting seabirds, also receive legal protection for the first time.

In enacting the legislation, Governor Mark Capes said, “We are committed to enhancing our ability to provide long-term protection of the environment on Ascension Island which hosts an extraordinary range of animals and plants, some of which are found only on Ascension. I commend the Ascension Island Council for their leadership in developing this legislation and for recommending it to me for enactment.”

Councillor Caroline Yon MBE, Chairman of the Island Council’s Biodiversity & Fisheries Protection Committee, said, “Ascension Island’s residents have already demonstrated a deep respect for the biodiversity around us. Creating protected areas takes this commitment a step further and will enable the Government to attract and deploy funding to ensure that these areas are carefully restored and managed for wildlife.”

The decision to protect large areas for wildlife was taken during a two year project funded by the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative to develop a national biodiversity strategy for Ascension Island. The project, which is being led by Ascension Island Government and the University of Exeter, brings together a consortium of organisations with an interest in preserving the Island’s incredible natural heritage.

   Speaking of the new legislation, Drs Sam and Nicola Weber, who are coordinating the project locally, said, “This marks a real milestone in nature conservation on Ascension Island. By restricting development and  irresponsible use, this legislation gives the Government the tools it needs to safeguard the Island’s most iconic wildlife sites for the future.” “The decision to create new nature reserves has received considerable  support from across the community”, the pair added, “which shows how seriously environmental stewardship is currently taken on the Island.”

 Notes

With an area of only 37 square miles and a population of just 800 people, Ascension Island is one of the smallest and least populous of the UK’s inhabited overseas territories. However, the Island has a long history of use as a military base and telecommunications hub: functions that have not always coexisted harmoniously with the environment. In the past, activities such as sand mining and unregulated development have impacted some of the Island’s most important wildlife habitat. Exotic plants and animals, introduced to the Island by people, also continue to threaten many areas.

Contact Point

Dr Sam Weber, Conservation Department (sam.weber@ascension.gov.ac) 00-247-6359.

ASCENSION ISLAND GOVERNMENT

28 July 2014


A major step forward in safeguarding procedures on St Helena was taken on Tuesday 29 July 2014 with the opening of the Victim Interviewing Suite in Longwood.

The ‘Anne’ Suite is a newly refurbished centre where victims of sex offences or other abuse can be confidentially interviewed – and represents a significant financial and social commitment from St Helena Government and Councillors to support vulnerable members of our society.

The suite was officially opened by HE Governor Capes in the presence of invited guests. Chief of Police Trevor Botting welcomed all present and stressed the vital importance of safeguarding on St Helena.

Governor Capes said:

‘The opening of the Anne Suite is an important milestone in the work of St Helena Government to safeguard people on St Helena – this suite is part of our ongoing work and commitment to protect the vulnerable in society.

Interviewing Suite
Interviewing Suite

 

‘St Helena doesn’t have all the resources it might like to have and we have to prioritise our money extremely carefully, but despite competing pressures the fact that we put our money into protecting the vulnerable speaks volumes for our commitment and a huge thank you to everyone for putting this together.’

Medical Examination Area
Medical Examination Area

Echoing Governor Capes, DC Veronica Judd spoke of how important it is for the Police Service to have within the community a safe neutral environment in which they can make a report. She said:

We the police recognise that it is a very difficult thing to come forward to us and make a complaint and it takes a huge amount of courage to do so. We would like to assure the vulnerable in our society that we  are here to deal with their reports professionally and want the public to know that every individual will be supported.

  ‘We take every allegation extremely seriously and every report will be fully investigated and, most importantly, will be treated in the strictest confidence – we urge people to come forward and make their report to us.’

  The suite itself is spacious and equipped with state of the art interviewing and video equipment for people to give and have their statement properly recorded. There is also a place for victims to be medically examined if they need to. The rooms have been designed to provide a comfortable, caring and safe environment for victims of abuse.

The suite supports the excellent progress that has been made in the development of safeguarding procedures on the Island by the Police, Social Services, Education and other partners and volunteers in taking care of those in need.

Artwork providing a calming ambience was contributed by Lindsey McGinnety, Andy Crowe, Dave Higgins and Jill Key. Thanks are extended to all those who have made this suite happen.

HE Governor Capes and DC Veronica Judd
HE Governor Capes and DC Veronica Judd

The suite is dedicated to ‘Anne’ for her courage, fortitude and belief in the system to bring to justice a dangerous offender.

SHG

30 July 2014

Benjamin Hathway
Benjamin Hathway

St Helena Government’s new Roads Manager, Benjamin (Ben) Hathway (photo attached) arrived on Island on Wednesday 23 July 2014 on a three year contract.

Ben is based at Donkey Plain and as Roads Manager is responsible for the entire road network on the Island. His role will include looking after the Island’s roads, managing the workforce, putting together operational programmes and working with other sections of the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate to ensure a joined up approach to roads management.

Ben will be building on the work of the previous Roads Manager, including slightly modifying some production methods, trialling other materials, inspecting roads and producing phased work programmes based on these inspections.

Ben explains:

“My main priorities over the coming weeks will be to understand key issues regarding the roads on St Helena and working to begin to resolve them. There is no quick solution and everything will take time but hopefully I can start to address the challenges we may have.”

Ben added:

‘Roads management on St Helena is vital. The main ways of getting around the Island are using private or public transport, and walking. The roads network on the Island, like anywhere else in the world, is central for business and social uses. It is therefore crucial the network is maintained to a good standard.’

Ben has 23 years roads experience and started his career as a road worker. He worked his way up to Roads Inspector and spent a number of years as a Quantity Surveyor. Prior to his arrival on St Helena, Ben was the Network Manager for Cambridgeshire County Council in the UK.

Ben concluded:

‘I’m looking forward to working on St Helena and serving the Island community – the people of St Helena have made me and my family feel very welcome and we are settling into our new home.

‘During the next few months I will be doing my best to understand issues affecting the roads on St Helena and will be happy to speak with anyone to hear their views.’

SHG

29 July 2014

 

Roddy
Roddy

Poultry breeding on St Helena involves activities such as the importation of chicken parent stock and the production, brooding and sale of 3-week old chicks.  For many years this service has been available from the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (ANRD) to local egg producers and smallholders.

ANRD has been seeking private sector interest in taking on the key elements of the existing poultry breeding service – so that their Veterinary and Livestock Section can concentrate on delivery of their core services to livestock producers and the general public.  This partnership will also achieve a reduction in subsidy for the poultry breeding service.

On 18 July 2014, Rodney Yon of White Gate, owner of Roddy’s Chicken Farm, entered into a 3 year partnership arrangement with ANRD to manage their current poultry breeding service and establish further egg production housing to increase egg production at Roddy’s Farm to meet the needs of the Island.  ANRD will continue the importation of chicken parent stock as and when required to ensure biosecurity requirements are met, and will provide veterinary support and advice to Rodney to enable chick production to continue.

Head of ANRD, Darren Duncan, commented:

“It is pleasing to see a private sector operator prepared to share risk through partnership with SHG and ESH to deliver an important agricultural service to the community and to scale up egg production.  This will increase production of a product for which we have a competitive advantage and which we rely on as a staple food”.

Enterprise St Helena (ESH) has been instrumental in supporting Rodney to realise this expansion and both ANRD and ESH have provided funding under the SHG/Private Sector Agriculture Partnership Policy to enable Rodney to combine this new service with a larger egg production operation from the ANRD poultry unit premises near Sunnyside.

chickens
chickens

ESH Private Sector Development Manager, Martin George, said:

“This is indeed a proud step in the right direction.  Rodney is one of many individuals that demonstrate enthusiasm in commercial development and is evidence of the success of the public private partnership policy.”

Rodney added:

“I am extremely excited to start this new venture.  I have signed a lot of contracts in my life and this contract tops them all.” 

From 1 August 2014, all requests for pullets (young hens) should be made to Rodney Yon on telephone 23633.

Two pictures accompany this release.

SHG

29 July 2014

 

An Island Major Incident Plan is currently being finalised, centred on emergency planning arrangements that need to be in place should a major incident occur on St Helena. While the chances of a major incident occurring on the Island are very low, it is important that the right planning and preparedness are in place to deal with any such situation promptly and effectively.

The Major Incident Plan is being developed around identifying the biggest risks facing the Island and reducing these risks as much as possible. To ensure this, the Emergency Planning team – led by Alistair Smith – are currently identifying the Island’s existing capability to deal with major incidents and fine tuning any gaps in the process. They are putting together both a general Major Incident Plan and also some specific plans where the highest risks have been identified.

The public can be assured that having a robust emergency plan in place for the Island is being taken very seriously. Once completed the plan will not only look at potential Airport-related incidents – although this will be tested as part of the Airport Certification process – but will serve the Island as a whole.

The plan will operate under a ‘one Island’ team effort and in the event of a major incident key functions of the plan will include keeping the public informed, minimising the  impact and ensuring things return back to normal as quickly as possible.

In order for the plan to achieve its intention, over the next few months a series of training and tests will take place across SHG and the Island to ensure its effectiveness. The feedback from the consultation undertaken so far across SHG, utility functions, Basil Read and community groups has been very positive and over the next few months the emergency planning team will be holding further meetings within the community and will be looking to identify individuals who have skills that could be called upon in the event of a major incident.

A major incident exercise will be held on 17 December 2014 which will be an essential part of preparation and implementation of the plan. This will be a whole Island event and people are kindly asked, if at all possible, to avoid planning any major Island activities on this day. The public will be kept informed of developments leading up to December’s exercise and community groups interested in taking part are asked to contact Alistair through the St Helena Access Office, on tel: 22721 or email: Alistair.Smith@sainthelena.gov.sh

SHG

28 July 2014

A large area of natural land surface at the Airport site (Prosperous Bay Plain) will of course be lost to construction and associated project works for St Helena’s Airport.

To record the invertebrates present in the area and to get a better understanding of the distribution of endemic, native and non-native (invasive) plant species, in February 2014 the Access Office commissioned St Helena National Trust to conduct a survey of the area prior to its loss, as a part of the Landscape and Ecology Mitigation Programme (LEMP).

The survey has allowed pre-construction mitigation activities to take place, such as lichen translocations, and will inform post construction rehabilitation, such as planting arrangements, in this area.

The findings are contained within the St Helena Airport North Runway Invertebrate, Plant and Endemic Lichen Survey which is now available on the St Helena Access website at http://www.sainthelenaaccess.com/application/

 

SHG

28 July 2014

A new St Helena Port Authority has now been established, to replace the former Harbour Board, taking over its functions and responsibilities. The Authority consists of 12 permanent members divided equally into two separate sub-committees:

Port Security Committee

  •       Police Dept (Merlin George)
  •       H.M. Customs (Lionel Joshua)
  •       Immigration (Emerald Newman)
  •       Harbourmaster’s Office  (Steve Kirk)
  •       ANRD Biosecurity Officer (Jill Key)
  •       Private Security Contractor (Paul Laban)

This committee deals with law enforcement, border control and security at Jamestown Wharf and in Rupert’s Bay, fulfilling the requirements of the ISPS Code (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code).

Port Stakeholders Committee

  • Diving Club  (Graham Sim)
  • Fisheries Manager (Terry Richards)
  • Life Boat (Fire Service) (Alan Thomas)
  • Queen Mary & Victoria Stores (Gregory Cairns-Wicks)
  • Solomons & Co (Jason Thomas)
  • Thorpe & Sons (Nick Thorpe)

To allow for a fair and balanced cross-section of the Wharf community, membership of this committee is split equally between the largest merchants and other Wharf users. This committee fulfils the requirements of Chapter 47 of the St Helena Harbours Ordinance.

Both committees will convene every three months, unless events or circumstances dictate otherwise, when emergency meetings can be called. The Chairman of the Port Authority is the Harbourmaster, who may appoint a Vice-Chairman for each sub-committee as agreed by the members.

SHG

28 July 2014

Due to the continuing need to keep doctors and nurses close to the General Hospital, community nurses are covering shifts there. As a result, the Health & Social Services Directorate advises that with effect from Tuesday 29 July 2014, outpatient and one-stop clinics in the districts will be temporarily unavailable. For the moment, all outpatients will be seen in Jamestown.

The Dispensary Bus will travel to the districts to deliver repeat prescriptions from 10am, as follows:

  • Half Tree Hollow – each Monday
  • Longwood – from Wednesday 30 July, the bus will deliver each fortnight
  • Levelwood – from Thursday 31 July, the bus will deliver every 4th week.

Repeat prescriptions will still be available as normal from the Pharmacy, and once the clinics are back to normal the Dispensary Bus will resume its usual service.

All diabetic nurse-led clinics will continue as usual. Please contact the Diabetic Nurse for an appointment.

The Directorate once again thanks people for their understanding, and wishes to place on record its admiration of Health staff in meeting the demands of the current situation. The public will be updated as soon as possible.

SHG

25 July 2014

 

While works continue on the Wharf, access for vehicles and pedestrians will be limited.  The Wharf will remain closed to all private vehicles, between the hours of 4pm and 8.30am, all week, unless otherwise authorised by Port Management.  Pedestrian access will be granted during the same hours.  No vehicles can be left parked between the Freight Terminal and the lower landing steps.

 

Port Management
SHG

23 July 2014