Jersey’s government is facing legal action after protests about plans for a tax on waste disposal.
The island’s infrastructure department wants to charge residents for disposal in a move which could bring in £10m a year.
The Parish of St Helier, the most populated parish on the island, claims that a covenant in 1952 guarantees free waste disposal for residents. The opening legal arguments were heard on 2 June at the Royal Court.
Jersey has a zero landfill policy. Any waste not recycled is incinerated at an energy-from-waste plant, while recyclable waste is baled and shipped from the island to France or England, the nearest available, for processing.
The new charges for waste disposal were announced as part of the government’s medium-term financial plan, which generates £145m with cost-cutting measures and new taxes.
The constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft, resigned as chairman of the environment scrutiny panel in January to fight the tax.
ITV news reported that Crowcroft said: “The covenant would absolutely prevent a specific charge for waste disposal, though not waste collection.”
He also suggested that if the government donated land to the parish in return for the covenant being scrapped, he believed the offer would be rejected.
The covenant was part of a deal made in return for selling the island’s Bellozanne recycling site to the States, and is specifically referred to in the States Of Jersey 2005 Solid Waste Strategy (below).