Which subject gets you hot under the collar? Is it population, traffic congestion or the cost of housing? Perhaps it is consumer prices, mental health or the protection of our green space?
Wherever your interest lies, and whatever your views, all of these issues – and many more – will affect the future of our Island and the kind of place in which our children and grandchildren will grow up.
Long-term ambitions for all these areas are outlined in Future Jersey, which was launched last month and gives Islanders a sense of how the first shared, long-term vision is taking shape.
We are now just over halfway through the consultation period but have you had a chance to add your voice yet?
The response to date appears to show that Islanders agree that the vision reflects the social, environmental and economic ambitions expressed through last year’s successful My Jersey survey and that the proposed indicators can benchmark where Jersey is today and whether the Island makes progress over time.
Some of the most emphatic support has been given to long-term ambitions to stop the decline of breeding birds and butterflies – two important ‘barometers’ of the health of our environment.
There has also been strong agreement with the level of ambition for enabling more Islanders to be able to buy a home and reducing the gap between Jersey and UK consumer prices, as well as improving mental well-being and natural water quality, and reducing net migration into the Island.
Islanders are also asking for a stronger ambition to be set for areas such as waste management and air quality, and the protection of our green space and Sites of Special Interest (SSI).
Gathering your feedback
The consultation has another six weeks to run and all the feedback gathered will be used to shape the final vision, which is due to be completed by the end of the year.
The vision will revolve around ten social, environmental and economic outcomes, which are key to our quality of life. Future Jersey explains how we can track Jersey’s progress towards them and then sets the long-term ambitions for the future.
As part of the consultation, we recently ran a series of focus groups and it was great to hear how passionate Islanders are about the future of their Island, and what that future could hold.
Those taking part demonstrated that they did see the value of agreeing a long term plan for our future – something which has not been done before in Jersey.
Another message which came out of the focus groups was that people want to feel that their voice is being heard and, most importantly, listened to. People also want to be assured that the vision will endure and won’t be ignored.
We asked the focus groups to look at Future Jersey, and the outcomes and indicators. Did they agree with the proposed long-term ambitions? In general, they did, but one thing that came out strongly was that an indicator on renewable energy was missing.
The 58 Island Indicators were carefully chosen to reflect international advice and best practice and local needs. But nothing is set in stone and discussions have now begun into the feasibility of a new indicator on renewable energy.
And this is the message we would like to get across to Islanders – the Future Jersey consultation is still open and we want to know your views on the ambitions and whether the long-term vision is heading in the right direction. This plan is your plan. It belongs to you, our community.
Please take five minutes to explore the ambitions at www.shapingourfuture.gov.je. You can dip in and out of them, tell us if you’d change the ambitions for any particular outcome and why, and come back to complete the rest.
The vision will be in place for the next 20 years and Future Jersey is the last chance for you to have a say on the direction it is heading in. Feedback on the ambitions can be given until 4 October 2017, when the consultation closes.