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Guernsey hosts 37th British-Irish Council Summit

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Friday 08 July 2022

Guernsey has hosted the 37th British-Irish Council Summit, the fifth time that the Summit has been held in Guernsey since the creation of the British-Irish Council as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Guernsey's President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, and President of the Development & Planning Authority, Deputy Victoria Oliver, hosted meetings at the Summit which focused on political developments within BIC Member Administrations and a discussion on collaborative spatial planning.

The Irish Government was represented by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD. The UK Government was represented by The Minister of State for Northern Ireland, The Rt Hon Conor Burns MP. The First Minister of Scotland, the Rt. Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, and the First Minister of Wales, the Rt Hon. Mark Drakeford MS, were also in attendance. The Chief Ministers of Jersey, John Le Fondré, and the Isle of Man, the Hon. Alfred Cannan MHK, represented the other two Crown Dependencies.

Due to the ongoing political talks in relation to the power-sharing arrangements in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Executive was not represented at a Head of Administration level at the Summit. Minister John O'Dowd MLA, Minister for Infrastructure, attended as chair of the meeting on collaborative spatial planning.

Ministers discussed the latest political developments from across the Member Administrations since the last Summit in Wales in November 2021. Issues raised included the war in Ukraine, the rising cost-of-living, impact of labour shortages on the economy, responding to climate change, the implementation of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol and the continuing response to Covid-19.

Political representatives with responsibility for planning policy met in advance of the Summit meeting to discuss the contribution of spatial planning to town revitalisation and the importance of positive place making as a means of supporting town revitalisation and the decarbonisation agenda, which is a current focus of the Collaborative Spatial Planning work sector. This provided an opportunity to discuss a range of initiatives being implemented and learn from the work currently being undertaken in the other Member Administrations. Prior to the meeting, Ministers with responsibility for this area visited the St. Peter Port Regeneration areas which focus on the Lower Pollet, South Esplanade and Mignot Plateau, and Mansell Street/Le Bordage, to understand the work being undertaken in Guernsey on this topic.

President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, said:

"I was very pleased to host the 37th British-Irish Council Summit in Guernsey today, the fifth time that Guernsey has hosted this event and the first Summit that I have been able to attend in person since my appointment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Summit has provided an excellent opportunity for Heads of Administration to discuss a range of matters such as our responses to the cost-of-living increases, the war in Ukraine and climate change.

I look forward to the BIC forum continuing to develop and evolve as the political relationships between its Member Administrations continue to adapt, and I am certain that it will remain an invaluable forum for Guernsey to be a part of.
It was also a pleasure to meet the incoming Chief Minister of Jersey, Deputy Kristina Moore. I look forward to working closely with her as we keep building on our cooperative relationship."

Deputy Victoria Oliver, President of the Development & Planning Authority, said:

"It was a pleasure to host Ministers with responsibility for planning from across the BIC administrations here in Guernsey. Having previously attended a BIC Ministerial meeting virtually, this is the first time I have attended a BIC Summit in person, and once again it has been a useful and productive meeting.

Policies that support town centres to be positive places to work, live, spend time, meet people and explore, while continuing to be a primary centre, are common to all of us. The focus of BIC administrations on this issue enables us to share experiences and learn from best practice as Guernsey continues to develop initiatives to support the revitalisation of St Peter Port, which is a key priority for Guernsey as set out in the recently debated Government Work Plan. I am especially pleased that the St Peter Port Regeneration Areas feature as a case study in the discussion paper."

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