Guernsey Electricity makes its case for closing Hougue Jehannet

Thu 24 Aug 2023

Guernsey Electricity Ltd attended a meeting at the Vale Douzaine room last evening to make its case for the permanent closure of Hougue Jehannet, the road that runs behind the Power Station (pictured below) – but didn't appear to convince the audience.

Nearly 40 parishioners, excluding GEL staff, attended to hear the case for closure, based on the need to tighten security, following independent assessments and reports. Jon Sexton, the company's Head of Engineering and Design, said the security specialist assessments conducted back in 2016 and 2019 highlighted the risks posed by an open access road running through the middle of the power station site.

In a question and answer session that followed the formal presentation, however, residents challenged what they saw as an inevitable loss of parking, particularly in Vale Avenue, and others questioned whether road closure would significantly improve security for the power facility.

Former Vale deputy Mary Lowe, who used to be president of Home Affairs, said there were seven areas of access to the power station available without using the road and challenged the need to close it at all.

Mr Sexton said the independent risk assessments that had been carried out highlighted a number of potential risks that needed to be mitigated for what was part of Guernsey's critical national infrastructure. These included activists and extremists, vehicle-borne attacks (seen as high risk), vehicle collisions, employee safety and for fire and evacuation purposes. GEL's formal statement on the matter is in the downloads section below.

Others questioned why the company couldn't protect its assets without closing the road or at least by maintaining pedestrian and cycle access. Others said that recent conflicts had shown that drones, not vehicles, were a far more likely cause of disruption. 

Site visit
The next stage of the potential permanent closure, under the relevant legislation, is for the Constables to arrange a public meeting on site at Hougue Jehannet where the company will again set out its reasons for stopping people from using the road and to hear any opposition from individuals or businesses who might be affected by that.

The Constables will then prepare a report of that meeting, to form part of the submission to the Royal Court for the Jurats to consider whether the case for closure had been made or not.

No date for that site meeting has yet been set but the Royal Court hearing has been scheduled for 9 October. 

  • Senior Constable Richard Leale confirmed that people could make representations to him for or against the proposed closure and these would form part of the report the constables have to prepare for the Royal Court.
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