25 May 2015
The ownership of Jersey’s foreshore and seabed is to be transferred from the Crown to the public of Jersey.
The Island’s foreshore and seabed, which has historically been in Crown ownership includes all of Jersey’s beaches and the seabed beneath its territorial waters. Following discussions with the Ministry of Justice for the Crown and Her Majesty’s Receiver General, the Government of Jersey has received confirmation that the Crown has agreed to transfer "all such title rights and interests of the Crown in right of the Bailiwick of Jersey" in the areas of the foreshore and seabed not already owned by the Public of the Island.
Range of options
Since the 1950’s many Occupation-era structures and anti-tank walls built on the Crown foreshore, and a small area of the seabed used for land reclamation, have been transferred by Her Majesty to the Public. The remainder of the territory will also now be transferred to the public of Jersey.
This gift will enable Jersey to consider a range of options for its territorial waters, such as possible leases for future renewable energy needs. It will also allow parts of the foreshore to be leased to Ports of Jersey to manage the harbour assets, piers and breakwaters. It will not, however, affect the administration of the beaches and foreshore, which has always been, and will continue to be, carried out by the States of Jersey.
The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said “This is an historic development for the Island and is 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.
“Islanders should be reassured that the transference of ownership of the foreshore and seabed will not affect our enjoyment of Jersey’s beaches and coastal waters, nor would it alter the Island’s constitutional relationship with the Crown. Similarly, our existing obligations under international environmental conventions would remain unchanged.”
The Lieutenant Governor, General Sir John McColl, added “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. Her Majesty wishes to support the interests and aspirations of the people of Jersey as expressed through their elected representatives and, following due consideration of the issue by the UK and Jersey governments, has agreed to the proposal. The legal arrangements for gifting the seabed and the foreshore to the people of Jersey from the Crown are being finalised.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the reefs of the Ecréhous and the Minquiers above highest spring tides would remain in Crown ownership. Also, in terms of development, all existing Planning obligations will still apply.