I wish to ascertain the following information in relation to the recent conference focusing on Sea Lettuce;
The total cost of the conference including transport of delegates, use of facilities and room at the Grand and time spent by civil servants.
The total spent by the Department for Infrastructure on trying to address the sea lettuce problem in the last five years.
The information requested is not currently held. The Minister for Infrastructure stated, in response to a question by Deputy J A N Le Fondre on 10 October 2017 No 1240/5(542) the following:
“This international conference, the first of its type in the world was well attended and received by internationally renowned scientists who specialise in Ulva (Sea Lettuce). Over 60 delegates attended the main event and approximately 35 attendees were at the public summary and Q&A session.
As the International Conference on Sea Lettuce Management was only held within the past few days the full out turn costs have yet to be finalised however the current estimated full costs are expected to be in the range of £38,000 to £40,000. This covers an initial feasibility study, event planning and work to contact a range of worldwide and keynote speakers, event organisation and venue costs, keynote speaker and overseas delegate costs where appropriate and conference follow up administration costs.
Whilst there was a significant cost to host this event the long-term value in the knowledge gained and contacts made will outweigh the short-term cost. Indeed the avoidance of future unjustified capital investment is an important factor. For example, the knowledge gained at the conference of a similar situation in New Zealand where considerable costs in diverting the effluent water from their sewage treatment works away from the bay, resulted in no reduction in the Ulva problem that they face.
On this point alone, local comparison figures are a £40K conference cost, versus a £10M ‘long-sea’ outfall extension pipe for the new STW (capital project cost of £69M) plus ongoing additional energy costs for its operation”
The total spend has been £115,000, of which –
- £96,000 has been spent on contractor costs to remove build-ups of sea lettuce from the top of the beach
- £19,000 has been spent on commissioning local marine biology research into the sea lettuce problem