Environment Department response to media enquiry from BBC Radio Guernsey.
Thursday 05 July 2012
Update - cliff path clearance.
BBC Radio Guernsey enquiry:
Further to my recent telephone call on the above subject would it be possible to arrange an interview with the team which carries out the clearance of cliff paths.
We are aware that some sections of path are overgrown - presumably due to the inclement weather. I know some sections are worse than others, but it would be really useful to get an accurate picture of the situation and the challenge faced by those responsible for the work.
Environment Department response:
The cutting of vegetation along the South Coast cliff paths (from La Valette to Pleinmont) commences in the first half of May each year. This year the cliff path team started on 14May 2012 and are now almost two-fifths of the way through the first cut. The paths are cut twice per annum. During the winter months, the team undertake repairs to the steps, benches, fencing and drainage ditches, and will also cut back woody growth that has encroached on to the paths.
As anyone with a garden will be aware, the volume of recent rainfall combined with a very warm spell in the last few weeks means that plant growth has been exceptionally strong. The cliffs are no exception and some sections of the cliff path network that were cut in early May are already showing considerable growth. That of course is nature doing what comes naturally and it is what makes our Island such a beautiful place in which to live and visit.
The cliffs are broken up into sections and the cutting is rotated in order to protect the seed stock. The rotation, has been very successful and ensures the wonderful displays of flowering plants along the cliffs. Which is of course one of the main reasons people so enjoy the cliff walks.
The first cut is started in May in order that flowering plants can be enjoyed and are allowed to set seed. Cutting earlier would have a significant impact on Guernsey's biodiversity, not only affecting the plants but also greatly reducing the number of insects and butterflies that feed upon them. It would also be a huge loss to many visitors who come to the island specifically to see the wildflowers on the cliffs at this time of year.
Environmental Services Unit