15 September 2020
- Lower Rupert’s Valley Development Project continues to progress
- Planned development will not encroach on areas of environmental and historical significance in Rupert’s including areas connected with the Liberated African History
The Lower Rupert’s Valley Development Project continues to progress. The Cargo Handling Facility is a key component of this Project. Executive Council approved the Cargo Handling Facility business case, funded from the Economic Development Investment Programme (EDIP), on 11 August 2020. Subsequently, Development Permission was granted with a number of conditions on 25 August. The Cargo Handling Facility works will be implemented over the next 18 months. Completion of these works will enable cargo operations to take place in Lower Rupert’s Valley.
Rupert’s Valley accommodates a range of activities including port and harbour functions, fishing and fisheries, residential use, power generation and bulk fuel facilities as well as public use of the most easily accessible beach on St Helena. It is an area of environmental significance, with heritage features linked to the Island’s Boer and Liberated African histories as well as marine and terrestrial ecological sensitivities. These are documented in the Environmental Statement prepared for the Airport Project (2008).
St Helena Government (SHG) has previously undertaken consultation with stakeholders, including Rupert’s residents and businesses, and the general public. The feedback received is being built into a planning guidance document to support the Land Development Control Plan. The principles of this document are that areas of environmental significance in Rupert’s, for example, the burial grounds of the Liberated Africans, must remain sacrosanct: no development will be permitted in the identified sites. Measures such as this enable required development in Rupert’s and conservation to go hand in hand.
The work on the new Cargo Handling Facility is a prime example of this. The plans for the Cargo Handling Facility have been in the pipeline since 2016, and there has been consultation with the public during this time. The plans for the Cargo Handling Facility have been designed to utilise land that is already in use: no new areas will be impacted and therefore the development will not encroach on environmentally sensitive areas in Rupert’s. As an additional safeguard, environmental watching briefs will be in place during the construction phase and the requirements set out in the 2008 Environmental Statement will be adhered to.
SHG recognises the importance and sensitivity of the cultural heritage in Rupert’s and its significance to the people on the Island and is aware that some people remain concerned that the planned development will encroach on areas of environmental and historical significance in Rupert’s, including areas connected with the Liberated African History. SHG would like to reassure the public that this is absolutely not the case.
SHG also recognises the international significance of the Liberated African history in Rupert’s and has tasked the Liberated African Advisory Committee to prepare proposals for memorialisation. The Committee was fortunate to engage the services of Annina van Neel, supported by Dr Andrew Pearson, as Project Managers to support the Committee in developing proposals. The resulting Master Plan will be considered by Executive Council in October.
Notes to Editors
Rupert’s has long been the industrial hub of the Island in addition to being a long-standing residential area. The St Helena Airport Project used Rupert’s Valley as a landing point for fuel, materials and equipment needed for Airport construction. In addition to temporary works required purely for the construction phase, the Project resulted in permanent works in Rupert’s, particularly the Access Road linking Rupert’s and the Airport and the new Island fuel facilities currently under construction.
A new freight shipping service commenced in 2018 with the MV Helena. The MV Helena was contracted with the view that cargo operations to and from St Helena would be carried out at Rupert’s Wharf.
Funding from the UK Government through the Airport Project and the EU at a cost of approximately £17m also enabled the construction of Rupert’s Wharf. While this investment enabled the physical construction of the Wharf, all parties acknowledged further investment would be required to fully operationalise the Wharf and derive the intended socio-economic benefits. Critical components of this additional investment are the installation of rockfall protection measures, construction of cargo handling facilities and road improvements to facilitate hauling cargo out of Rupert’s Valley to Jamestown.
Rockfall protection works in Rupert’s commenced in early 2020 and was completed in July 2020.
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15 September 2020