Environment & Natural Resources Committee And Highways Authority Meetings – Thursday, 21 November 2019

The monthly meetings of the Highways Authority and the Environment & Natural Resources Committee (ENRC) took place on Thursday, 21 November 2019.

As part of the revision of the current Roads Policy, the Roads Manager provided guidelines and best practices on road construction methods for access roads to private residences, community and district roads and new main roads. These guidelines provide information on the width of roads, size of passing bays, longitudinal grade and camber (cross fall), drainage, layer works and surface dressing. Currently, there are no real specifications available for the construction of standard roads and the equipment available varies. The points raised and suggested will be used as a guide by everyone involved in constructing a road. This is a welcome addition to the Roads Policy and will also support the Planning Office when applying a decision notice to planning applications. However, the Committee noted that with the ever increasing requests from individuals to approve their access, we do not want to specify a road design which will incur greater cost or deter people from developing but to merely assist applicants with the design of their roads. It will also provide the basis of road construction where it is now being realised that certain road developments on-Island where communal roads are required will eventually become part of the Island’s road network in the future.

The Marine Conservation Officer provided an update on the Marine Policy and Regulations, with regards to interacting with marine species in and around the waters of St Helena. It is well known that a key asset to St Helena’s marine environment is its marine species and their habitats, some of which are endemic. Although human interaction with our marine world is encouraged, there are limits on how this interaction takes place. This Policy will provide the best practice guidelines to both locals and tourists.

The proposed Dark Skies legislation was discussed. In attendance for this item were members from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Deputy Chief Secretary and Chief Planning Officer. This proposed legislation will have an impact on some current but mostly all future developments on-Island. Although most of the proposals were accepted there were some issues raised by members where they felt further work needs to be undertaken. A further joint discussion will be held with the Economic Development Committee and Environment & Natural Resources Committee to address these matters.

Approval was received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to allow the ENRC to amend the Burial Grounds Ordinance, 1895. This legislation will be progressed with another minor change regarding spacing between graves and it is envisaged that this will be tabled at a formal Legislative Council meeting in early 2020.

A briefing was provided by the Committee’s representative on the Working Group undertaking a risk assessment for the proposal to lift the ban on cycling on certain roads on the Island. Some comprehensive work has been carried out and this will provide the Committee with basic information in assisting them to make an informed decision. Members of the Working Group were also thanked for their work and effort in undertaking this review.

Finally an update was provided by the Infrastructure & Transport Directorate’s Technical teams regarding progress being made in making land plots available for development and for Government Landlord Houses. To date, approval has been given to progress the Comprehensive Development Area (CDA) at Bottom Woods and further plans have been submitted for development permission in two other areas of the Island. It is envisaged that two more submissions will be made in early December. The teams were commended on their excellent work and progress thus far.

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28 November 2019 

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470
Email: communications@sainthelena.gov.sh