Security of food and fuel supply for Jersey (FOI)
Security of food and fuel supply for Jersey (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 10 January 2023.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Who is Politically responsible for the security of supply of food and fuel to Jersey to ensure the Population and its visitors have adequate supply?
How is this person or entity held to account?
What powers in law, if any do they have to ensure companies with licenses to provide these essentials maintain adequate supplies?
What in their view are adequate supplies?
Is it within their powers to add conditions on permissions to operate these services to include warehousing or storage of back up supplies! If so, what are these powers and how might they be introduced to ensure there are reserves of both fuel and food for the island’s population?
Under normal circumstances, the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture has responsibility for policy, strategy and legislation relating to the retail sector which supplies both food and fuel to consumers. As is the case with other jurisdictions, outside of an emergency, the Island relies on private companies to satisfy normal demand for fuel and food through the existing supply chain. Under the Emergency Powers and Planning (Jersey) Law 1990 specific Ministers are designated as competent authorities having responsibility to secure certain essentials of life for the community. Currently the competent authority for food is the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture and for fuel it is the Minister for Home Affairs.
Ministers are primarily held accountable by the Chief Minister, the States Assembly and Scrutiny Panels. Where a Minister is acting in the capacity of a competent authority the oversight is provided by the Emergencies Council which is chaired by the Chief Minister.
As above, in extreme circumstances the Emergency Powers and Planning (Jersey) Law 1990 provides the legal power for Ministers to secure the essentials of life for the community. A legally binding Operating Agreement also exists between Condor Ferries Limited and the Government of Jersey that includes Minimum Service Requirements to ensure the adequate provision of freight (which includes food and fuel supplies) from the UK regional distribution centres to Jersey.
Regardless of whether there is a declared state of emergency or not, there is a power to secure certain essentials of life for the community (including fuel) under the Emergency Powers and Planning Law 1990 which provides for two types of order making:
a. The powers of the ‘competent authorities’ designated under the 1990 Law as having responsibility to secure certain essentials of life for the community, whether or not a state of emergency has been declared by the Lieutenant-Governor under Article 11 of the 1990 Law; and
b. The powers of the Council, which can be used to secure the essentials that may be secured by the competent authorities and for a wider range of purposes, but only once a state of emergency has been declared.
For example, in relation to the above the below is an excerpt from the 1990 Law:
Article 5 (1)
Power of competent authority in relation to fuel and electricity
(1) A competent authority may by Order provide for securing, regulating or prohibiting any one or more of the following, that is to say –
(a) the production, supply or distribution of fuel and electricity;
(b) the acquisition of fuel and electricity;
(c) the use of fuel and electricity;
(d) the price at which fuel may be supplied.
This question relates to the Minister’s opinion rather than any information held. Article 3 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies.
Yes. A Minister acting as a ‘competent authority’ with responsibility for securing one of the essentials of life set out in Articles 5 to 9A of the 1990 Law is permitted to make such provision as he or she thinks fit for the purposes of securing the essentials they are designated for. This includes provision requiring a person to act in a certain way or prohibiting a person from acting. Breach of an Order would be a criminal offence pursuant to Article 19(1) of the 1990 Law punishable with a maximum of two years imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
Article 3 - Meaning of “information held by a public authority”
For the purposes of this Law, information is held by a public authority if –
(a) it is held by the authority, otherwise than on behalf of another person; or
(b) it is held by another person on behalf of the authority.