Govt Addresses Environmental Policy Concerns

June 9, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Government has responded to public concerns regarding Bermuda’s environmental policies.

A Government spokesperson said, “The Government appreciates the concerns raised regarding Bermuda’s environmental policies and would like to address each point with clarity and transparency.

“Protecting our environment is indeed a critical priority, and while we acknowledge challenges, we must also highlight the significant steps being taken toward sustainability.

Promotion of Environmental Leadership:

“Government ministers’ overseas trips serve as crucial opportunities to learn from global best practices and build international partnerships. These experiences directly inform our local policies and actions and contribute to Bermuda’s evolving environmental strategies.

Perspective on Environmental Stewardship:

“The Government has always and remains deeply committed to balancing economic development with environmental sustainability. Initiatives such as the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme [BOPP] testify to our dedication to protecting marine resources while fostering economic growth.

Single-Use Plastics Legislation:

“The delay in legislating the ban on single-use plastics is not due to a lack of commitment but rather the need to ensure comprehensive and enforceable policies. We are working diligently to finalize the legislation, considering various stakeholder feedback from extensive consultation to make the new laws robust and effective. To that end, the Beyond Plastic Bermuda campaign’s efforts are highly valued and are instrumental in shaping this policy.

Recycling Initiatives:

“We acknowledge that Bermuda’s recycling infrastructure needs improvement. Efforts are underway to enhance recycling programs, starting with government offices and National Parks. We are also exploring partnerships with private sectors to expand recycling facilities and education campaigns to encourage broader community participation.

Special Development Orders [SDOs]:

“The changes to the SDO approval process are designed to streamline decision-making while maintaining rigorous environmental standards. Each SDO is subject to a thorough review, and decisions always consider experts’ recommendations and long-term impacts. Government Ministers actions reflect a balanced approach to development and environmental stewardship.

National Parks Commission:

“The suspension and subsequent reinstatement of the National Parks Commission were strategic decisions aimed at restructuring for more effective governance. The appointment of Honourable Zane DeSilva as Chairman leverages his extensive experience to enhance the Commission’s work, ensuring a pragmatic approach to park management and conservation.

Fisheries Protections and Management:

“Strengthening fisheries protection and integrated management of our marine environment remains a priority. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is working to secure additional resources and implement new enforcement measures UK funded Blue Ocean Shield program and continued work with the US Coast Guard. Work continues to develop integrated management of our entire Exclusive Economic zone under the draft Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Program [BOPP], such as Bermuda’s Blue Economy Strategy, to better manage and protect our marine life and support sustainable fisheries. The independent advisory panel is currently reviewing the draft marine spatial plan and will submit recommendations to the Minister in the next several weeks.

Management of the Environment:

“The Government has continued its efforts to protect the environment, ecosystems and associated species.

“Protection of threatened species such as sharks and rays and new legislation to manage invasive species has been established over the past 2-3 years.

“The public will soon be invited to consult on new legislation: the Water Resources Amendment Bill and the Clean Air Amendment. The Pollution Control section continues to support the removal of abandoned and derelict boats under the Government-KBB MOU.

Ministerial Discretion in Planning:

“The Ministerial discretion exercised in planning applications ensures that decisions align with broader national interests. Each case is meticulously reviewed, balancing development needs with environmental preservation. The appeals process is essential to address unique circumstances and ensure fairness.

Renewable Energy Initiatives:

“The Government’s commitment to renewable energy is demonstrated by the consultation on single-use plastics, the installation of solar panels on public buildings, and the adoption of electric buses and cars. While transitioning to renewable energy sources is a gradual process, we are actively working towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Plans are also in place to manage the end-of-life disposal of electric vehicle batteries responsibly.

Long-Term Vision and Commitment:

“The Government is steadfast in its commitment to sustainable development. We continuously update our policies and practices to reflect current environmental challenges and opportunities. We aim to ensure that future generations inherit a thriving and sustainable Bermuda.

“In conclusion, while there is always room for improvement, it is crucial to recognize the substantial efforts and progress being made. We invite continued dialogue and collaboration with all stakeholders to achieve our shared vision of a sustainable Bermuda.”

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