Basil Read has published its Annual Environmental Report (AER) 2013-14 on the St Helena Airport Project.  This report provides an overview of the environmental performance of the Airport contractor, over the reporting period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014.

Performance is monitored against a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), grouped under the following headings:

  • Legal Compliance
  • Environmental Structures
  • Environmental Systems, and
  • Environmental Performance (Social and Biophysical)

Of the 30 KPIs, 17 (57%) indicators have been fully attained. Nine are unachieved, three have been partially met and there is one indicator (hectares rehabilitated) that is not applicable, as planting plans had not been developed at that time.

Overall there has been significant progress since last year, with improved performance against seven indicators, with thirteen remaining positive. However, performance against five indicators had dropped. These include:

  • More than four complaints received on average per month (against a target of three or less) with five of them serious (against a target of nil)
  • Four incidents of drunk driving (against a target of nil incidents of anti-social behaviour and crime)
  • Two level-three incidents relating to biosecurity and rare and endangered species respectively (against targets of no level-three incidents) and
  • The annual number of days that dust limits can be exceeded was breached (during the short period that rock crushing took place on Pipe Ridge).

The AER also presents information relating to the following aspects of the project:

  • Environmental governance structures
  • Progress in building relationships with our stakeholders
  • Overview of studies undertaken during the year, with a report-back on the outcomes of studies described last year
  • Environmental monitoring activities
  • Targets and challenges for the 2014-15 reporting period

The AER is available online at: http://www.sainthelenaaccess.com/news/publications/ as well in hard copy from the Public Library and the Access Office.

Halcrow will present an overview of the AER to interested parties at the Stakeholder Engagement Forum on Thursday 16 April at 7pm at the Canister, Jamestown. 

Further information can be obtained from Robert Kleinjan of Halcrow via email Robert.Kleinjan@ch2m.com or on tel: 24258

SHG

14 April 2015

Executive Council met at 2pm on Thursday 18 December to consider one item.  This was the application for full Development Permission for the proposed Solar Farm in Half Tree Hollow.  The Chief Planning Officer and the Planning Officer were in attendance.

Outline Development Permission and transfer of the land from SHG to Connect Saint Helena Ltd had previously been agreed by Executive Council in October 2014.

The application for full Development Permission had been heard by the Land Development & Control Authority (LDCA) on 17 December.  The LDCA had recommended to Executive Council that permission be granted, subject to certain conditions, one being that there is independent confirmation that the Solar Farm would pose no risk to human health through the generation of electro-magnetic fields.

There was also discussion on the plans for the relocation of the rifle range. The CEO of Connect Saint Helena Ltd and the Director of the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate were invited to the meeting to contribute to this discussion. While no final plan has yet been agreed for this relocation, the CEO of Connect confirmed that the company is committed to funding this.

With this reassurance given, Executive Council agreed that full Development Permission be granted for a 0.5 MWe Solar Farm on the current site of the Half Tree Hollow rifle range, subject to the various conditions.

Council also considered and approved an application to waive customs duties on assets donated to the Health Directorate from the World Health Organisation.

On behalf of Legislative Council, Executive Council would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

SHG

24 December 2014

Acting Governor
Acting Governor

When we found out that we were coming to St Helena, our friends on Tristan assured us of a warm welcome. We were not disappointed. It was astonishing how many people here approached us in the street to welcome us and tell us about friends they had down on Tristan.  It was a great start. Thank you.

Reflecting on the last year or so, it has been a busy time for everyone.  The airport project has continued on track and on budget. We have visited the site three times over the last nine months and never ceased to be amazed at what everyone has achieved there. The Dry Gut fill is an astonishing piece of work.

After much deliberation and discussion, decisions were taken on the Jamestown hotel and Enterprise St Helena, with its refocus on supporting local businesses, both new and existing, has seen a significant increase in the number of loans and grant applications it has received and approved. Economic development is on the way.

In the education sector we saw some of the best results and I was honoured to represent the Governor at the awards ceremony at Prince Andrew School only a few weeks ago, where so many of the students received their well-deserved awards.

We also recognise the work of charities and others in the voluntary sector who do so much to enrich their community – and of our sporting youth who were such fine ambassadors for St Helena at this year’s Commonwealth Games.

2015 promises to be an even busier year as the airport opening fast approaches. We also have work on the Rupert’s Wharf project, hospital refurbishment, the new prison and new fire station to push forward. These projects are all for the benefit and long term wellbeing of the community at large.

Later on in the year we look forward to welcoming visitors and dignitaries to the Island for the bicentenary of Napoleon’s arrival here when an exciting programme of events is being organised.

Work continues on providing a sea freight service to St Helena and Ascension after the RMS, as does the contract to provide an air service to the Island.  We should be able to say more about these in the next few weeks. There is still a considerable amount of work to do as we prepare for airport certification and there are many across SHG and elsewhere engaged in this work.  We look forward to seeing test flights in July!

But there have also been problems to address this year, not least around safeguarding those most vulnerable in our society. We have taken steps to increase capacity in this area and with the help of our partners in London, and have secured additional staff and other resources to improve and embed the way we approach these difficult issues. The creation of a new Safeguarding Directorate is a really positive move as is the opening of Ebony View, which will replace the CBU in February. As you know, the Foreign Secretary has commissioned an Inquiry into the way we manage these issues. The team arrives in March and will be here for just over two weeks. We welcome this and look forward to delivering those recommendations that come from the Inquiry. We have a real opportunity here to make a big and lasting difference.

So as you can see, we have many challenges ahead, but as we all pull together I am confident we can achieve a great deal over the next twelve months.

Christmas is also a time when we remember those who have lost close friends and family and think of those who are unwell or lonely at this time.  Our thoughts and prayers go to you all.

The Governor is looking forward to returning to the Island on 3 January, just in time to welcome the arrival of the yachts taking part in the Governor’s Cup, the first big event of the year.  Both he and Mrs Capes send their best wishes for the Christmas period and wish you all a peaceful and happy time over the festive season.

Marina and I join them in this and wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year.

Acting Governor

Sean Burns

23 December 2014

The St Helena Utilities Regulatory Authority has today published its first ‘Report on the Quality of Services Provided by Connect Saint Helena Limited, 2013/14’. 

 

On 1 April 2013 the Utility Services Ordinance 2013 came into force.  The Ordinance established the Utilities Regulatory Authority and created a legal framework to facilitate the provision of licenses for private sector utility services. 

 

The members of the Authority are the Chief Magistrate (as Chairman), Mr Stedson Francis (BEM) and Mr Paul Hickling.  The Judicial Services Manager is the Secretary to the Authority, to whom any communication should be made.  

 

The main purpose of this report is to inform the public on the level of services being delivered by Connect, and to make Connect aware that such services are being monitored, scrutinised and will be publicly reported upon by the Authority. It is concerned with motivating the sole utilities provider to improve the quality of the services it provides. 

 

This annual report relates to the period from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, and is available on the SHG website at: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/

 

SHG

22 December 2014

As a result of partnership between the National Trust, Enterprise St Helena (ESH) and the Education Directorate, Christen Yon will be leaving the Island on Monday 22 December 2014, to undertake a seven-month training course at West Dean College, near Chichester in the UK – where he will study many aspects of furniture restoration and preservation.

This bespoke course, designed to suit Christen’s needs, will see him receive the excellent specialist training available at West Dean College.  Christen is currently working at the Longwood workshops, where he is deeply involved in the restoration and repair of many Napoleonic pieces of furniture.  Christen said:

“I am delighted to have been given this unique opportunity and I’m really looking forward to the training.”

Colin Moore, Director of Education, added:

“I am delighted that West Dean College has been able to offer Christen a place for his studies.  I’m confident that this will be of benefit not only to Christen but to the Island as a whole.  I wish him well with his studies. 

“We would also like to thank Michel Martineau, the French Consul, for providing an Apprenticeship for Christen over the past year.”

David Goodrick of ESH commented:

“This is the final piece in an extensive Apprenticeship that Christen has undertaken. It will not only provide him with the skills to look after the Island’s antiquities, but will also enable him to teach the next generation of furniture restorers – thus safeguarding these items for the future. I wish him well on this venture.”

Jeremy Harris, Director of the National Trust, said:

“There is so much beauty and history in the hundreds of pieces of antique furniture on St Helena.  I’m thrilled at this opportunity for Christen to continue developing, as he is so keen to do, his considerable skills, so he can preserve this invaluable part of the Island’s heritage. I hope that, when he returns, we can build on his experience to bring others into this vital area of work.”

SHG

16 December 2014

 

 

 

A report to SHG from Basil Read (via the Project Management Unit) indicates that in the course of roadworks in Rupert’s Valley, carried out on Friday 12 December 2014, some human remains were uncovered.  All evidence points to these being further Liberated African remains.

Whereas earlier finds under the Airport Project have been of scatter material (fragments left from earlier excavations), this find appears to be part of a previously undisturbed grave.  It also appears to confirm earlier assessments by Dr Andy Pearson of Bristol University, that further Liberated African graves might be located in Rupert’s Valley.  Works on the Access Road have specifically avoided areas of known graves, whilst recognising the risk of further remains being uncovered.

The Archaeology Protocol under the Airport Project specifically recognises this risk and sets out measures to be implemented should there be such a find.  This Protocol was immediately and effectively implemented, and all works have ceased in the area, which is now closed pending full mitigation measures.

SHG

16 December 2014

On 4 December 2014, the Economic Development Committee formally approved the Pesticide Policy for St Helena, developed by ANRD and the Public Health Section – following extensive stakeholder consultation.

The purpose of the policy is to provide the basis for promoting effective and sustainable pest, weed and disease management on St Helena, through improved pesticides management. It expresses the intention to actively consider a range of methods, including the introduction of new biological control agents and a comprehensive range of modern pesticides to target key problem species. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) framework adopts a broad approach to pest management based on prevention through the integration of cultural, biological and chemical control methods.

Our national IPM Vision for St Helena Island is:

“An effective IPM approach, based on good stewardship and holistic land use practices, to minimise the effects of invasive species and pesticide use on native plants, animals, and food supplies – ensuring St Helena’s people and environment (land, sea and sky) ‘grow healthy’.

The term ‘grow healthy’ is considered to embrace the concepts of sustainability,  self-sufficiency, livelihoods, worker safety, responsibility, consumer safety, resilience and a healthy future.  This policy will be guided by the principles of safety, community, choice and sustainability.

And there are six strategic objectives:

  • Access to a choice of control methods
  • Adoption of local solutions
  • Legislation and regulation
  • Creation of an approved list of pesticides
  • Public awareness and support, and
  • Improved capacity

An implementation plan is also in place for priority actions to be delivered by responsible agencies.

Pest Control & Biosecurity Officer, Dr Jill Key, said of the implementation of the policy:

“This policy shows the way forward.  It’s about having choices in how we control pests, and also about using pesticides safely. Safe not only for the people spraying pesticides, but also looking after the environment, protecting consumers of local produce and ensuring the quality of our valuable water supplies.

“This way we protect our future”.

The policy document can be found on the SHG website at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/integrated-pest-management/ or alternatively call the Pest Control & Biosecurity Service at ANRD on telephone 24724 for a hard copy.

SHG

16 December 2014

 

The public will be aware of recent visits from potential Ocean Freight Services providers Seafast, Hartman Project Lines (HPL) and Meihuizen Atlantic Islands Services (MAIS) between October and November this year.  This came on the back of being pre-qualified along with a number of other potential service providers as a result of the Expressions of Interest process, issued in June 2014.

Following short-listing there were face to face meetings with those potential service providers during August in London, to get a better understanding of their proposals and also give them an opportunity to understand clearly the needs of the Island.

Since those face to face meetings the short-listed companies were encouraged to do as much market research as necessary to prepare detailed tender documents.  As a result we had visits from three potential providers as mentioned above, and a significant number of requests for additional information from all companies.

Earlier this week, SHG issued the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the Ocean Freight Services to St Helena to those companies who were short-listed.

This is in line with the timetable set for signing a contract in mid-2015.  Tenders will close at the end of January 2015, with a further Best and Final Offer stage built into the programme for getting the best possible service for the Island.  A period of contract negotiations will conclude the process with the signing of a contract scheduled for around June 2015 – giving the service provider a year to mobilise in readiness to commence the new shipping service around June 2016.

In terms of Ascension Island, it is envisaged that a service will be provided to Ascension as an add-on to the proposed St Helena service.  This will be discussed during the contract negotiations in 2015, and would be on the same commercial terms as the St Helena service.

SHG Shipping Officer, Dax Richards, commented:

“The issuing of the ITT is a huge step for St Helena in securing a reliable and affordable service to the Island.  There is still much work to be done to resolve freight services post air service, but we hope this step provides public assurance that we are on track to have an Ocean Freight service in place when the RMS is withdrawn from service.”

SHG

10 December 2014

At the conclusion of the current sitting of the St Helena Supreme Court on Monday (8 December 2014), St Helena Government and the St Helena Police Service welcomed the sentences handed down by the Chief Justice, and hope this sends a clear message to the community.

Lead Police Officer for Safeguarding and the CID, Pam Trevillion, said:

“I would like to reassure victims that if you come forward and trust us, we will listen to you.  St Helena Police will conduct a thorough investigation wherever possible and will work closely with the Attorney General’s Chambers, to bring offenders before the Courts.

“It is vital for the community of St Helena that victims have a voice and that offenders are brought to justice.  Safeguarding in our community is a responsibility for everyone – mine and yours alike.  I urge victims and witnesses to speak to us and not to stay silent.”

Police Service

SHG

10 December 2014

 

Executive Council met today, Tuesday 9 December.  As the agenda items related to commercial activities of local businesses, they were discussed in closed session.

While details of the meeting must be kept confidential, there was a more general discussion on supporting investors through Investment Tax Credit.

Investment Tax Credit is an incentive available to people who import depreciable assets or materials for the construction of a new depreciable asset. It is designed to provide financial support to those looking to invest in their business and is currently set at 15% of the cost of acquiring and importing an asset. The resulting credit can be used against any tax due on the person’s business or property income. For example, if it costs a business £100,000 to purchase and import an asset, then it can claim an Investment Tax Credit of £15,000 against its tax assessment.

Executive Council discussed ways of making Investment Tax Credit more attractive to businesses and will keep this Policy under close review.

SHG

9 December 2014