The Queen has returned to Jersey ownership of much of the beaches and the seabed around the island.
Her Majesty has owned the land on Jersey’s beaches up to the spring high tide mark and 12 miles out to sea. The Minquiers and Ecréhous reefs above highest spring tides will remain in Crown ownership.
The land will now become the property of the States who plan to lease the space for tidal and wave energy projects.
Representatives of Her Majesty on the island commented that she felt it was time to “support the interests and aspirations” of islanders.
The move concludes a series of foreshore transfers to the island since the 1950s including many fortifications constructed during the German occupation of the island during World War Two.
Jersey sits in the Bay of St Malo just 30.5 km from the French coast and 137 km south of the English coast. It is the biggest of the Channel Islands.
It is made up of 12 parishes and has a population of 99,000. Jersey is only 8 km long and 14.5 km wide.
“This is a historic development for the island and is a testament to our strong relationship with the Crown. It is important for Jersey to have ownership of its seabed and foreshore, and I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the public of Jersey for this decision,” Chief Minister Ian Gorst stated.
Representing The Queen, Lieutenant Governor, Gen Sir John McColl commented: “The government of Jersey has expressed a view that ownership of the seabed and foreshore would assist effective management and economic development, particularly in the area of renewable energy projects.”
The legal agreements for granting the seabed and the foreshore to the people of Jersey from the Crown are being settled.
In the UK where the Crown Estate owns the seabed 12 miles from the shore, the wind and tidal energy companies pay rent to operate their cables from the turbines to the shore.
In 2013-14 the Crown Estate, from which The Queen is paid, made £14.3m from cables and pipelines that cross its land.
Meanwhile, the States of Guernsey are researching taking possession of the beaches and the seabed in the Bailiwick from Her Majesty as well.
A spokesperson for Guernsey’s Policy Council noted the circumstances in Guernsey are “slightly more complex” because the “Bailiwick does not have an extended 12 nm (nautical miles) territorial sea”.
“We are currently investigating benefits and risks of extending the territorial seas and of seeking to have the seabed transferred from the Crown in right of the Bailiwick of Guernsey,” the spokesperson concluded.
The Countess of Wessex marked the anniversary of the liberation of the Channel Islands with a visit to Jersey and Guernsey earlier this month.
The Channel Islands were occupied for five years after Nazi forces arrived in June 1940.
Photo Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Flickr