- Last Updated: Friday, 17 July 2015 10:50
The Bermuda National Trust Believes:
Open space is essential for the environmental and social health of Bermuda and with the state of the Island's development today it must be preserved.
- Open space is disappearing at an alarming rate island-wide. Last year in Bermuda 31,020 square metres, an area the size of Spanish Point Park or 5.2 football pitches, were covered by development (not including hard surfacing such as roads, parking areas or pathways). Areas of Nature Reserve, Agricultural Land, Woodland Reserve and Section 34’s received planning approval for buildings and road development. Open space is of immense value to present day residents and it is their duty to protect and preserve adequate open spaces for future generations. While the Trust realizes that development must occur we call for it to proceed in the most environmentally sensitive manner possible. Before our finite and precious open space disappears every effort should be made to rehabilitate and redevelop existing structures and sites.
The Planning Department and Conservation Services must be expanded and strengthened and the penalties for those who disobey their regulations should be severely increased.
- There appears to be an ever-growing disregard for the role of the environment in the development process today. Many individuals either ignore or subvert the dictates of the Planning Department. Until such a time as Planning and conservation have adequate resources to address this situation it will continue.
A “Land Bank” would be an ideal tool for preserving open space in Bermuda.
- Many islands which are subject to the same development pressures as Bermuda’s have chosen to preserve open space by levying a fee whenever a piece of land is first developed. The levy is usually 1-2% of the total cost of the project. The resultant Land Bank funds are then used to purchase land, which can never be developed, or the development right from land zoned for development. This creates a balance between the rush to develop and the need to preserve open space.
Our environment is under siege from a variety of invasive plants and animals and the Trust supports any effort that reduces the burden of invasive species on the environment.
- We do not know how much pressure our endemic plants and animals can endure before they are consigned to extinction. The eradication of identified pest species is essential for the protection of Bermuda’s environmental heritage.
The remaining pre-blight cedars should be protected under a certificate programme to aid in their survival.
- Cedar Trees are one of Bermuda’s most enduring symbols. The cedar blight was a national tragedy from which we are still trying to recover. All steps should be taken to encourage the planting of cedars and to ensure the survival of all pre-blight specimens.
It is imperative to protect Bermuda’s ground water from damage caused by a multitude of threats such as sewage disposal, septic overloading, excessive withdrawal, industrial activities and chemicals.
- Continual monitoring is an essential safeguard that must be maintained against these and other threats.
Any person or business that impacts the existing cave system negatively should be held strictly accountable for the resultant damage.
- Bermuda’s cave systems are uniquely vulnerable to increased development pressure and new industrial technologies/equipment; in fact development hundreds of yards away can now devastate them. Amelioration of the resultant damage should be the responsibility of the offending party who should bear all associated costs. Penalties should reflect the unique and fragile nature and incalculable value of the cave system to Bermuda.
Fisheries White Paper
Protecting the marine environment is of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of Bermuda’s biosphere.
- Any threat to that environment, depletion of fish stocks and the resultant changes in reef ecology, for example, must be averted. It is time that the Fisheries White Paper be implemented by the Legislature, one step toward achieving the necessary marine protection.
Marinas and Anchorages
There should be an in-depth study of the existing marinas and anchorages to determine their impact on the surrounding environment.
- Each year greater numbers of marine vessels are being introduced to Bermuda. Pressure on existing marinas becomes intensified and additional mooring placements are avidly sought. A plan must be developed, utilizing information produced by the above-mentioned study for the sustainable development of future marinas and anchorages.
- Keep Bermuda Beautiful’s Better Boater Programme should be the standard to which all users of Bermuda’s waters aspire.
A study should be made of the impact of the expanding cruise ship presence on the local environment to conclude whether or not equilibrium has been achieved between the environment and increased ship visits.
- The increasing size and number of cruise ships calling in Bermuda place an ever-growing burden on the Island’s environment and infrastructure. We are aware of the importance of these visitors to the tourism industry but we must also ensure that a balance is struck between the number of cruise ship visitors to Bermuda and the island’s ability to absorb the environmental impact of their arrival.
Current containment methods applied at the Airport land-reclamation site are inadequate.
• The Trust feels that there is continued risk of severe environmental damage to Castle Harbour from the material deposited at the airport dump. A major weather event in all likelihood would overcome the existing containment strategy and allow for material to escape into Castle Harbour. Alternate waste containment options should be explored which could provide greater protection for the marine and coastal environments.
Recycling must move to the forefront of the Island’s waste management program.
- Bermuda faces serious issues with regard to the control and management of the tons of waste generated daily. The existing recycling programme provides an excellent foundation for more concerted recycling efforts, island-wide. Recycling is a partnership between the Government, every organization and each resident all of whom have a stake in Bermuda’s future.
An increased litter awareness programme is needed to both address the visual impact of litter throughout Bermuda and to demonstrate the effect that litter is having on our local flora and fauna.
- It has become apparent that the existing litter control measures are failing to control the accumulation of litter throughout public spaces which renders many parks, roadsides and beaches unfit for family use. The tireless efforts of Keep Bermuda Beautiful ameliorate the damage to a degree but it is apparent that more is needed.
- All marinas and public docks should have adequate facilities for the proper disposal of waste materials: garbage, recycling, oil, hazardous wastes and sewage.
Increased monitoring of ground and inshore water is necessary to insure public and environmental health.
- An increasing population inevitably results in increased human waste. Septic systems, which have proven adequate in prior years, have become outmoded as population density increases and additional systems are added in close proximity. Deep sealed boreholes may leach into the surrounding area. The outflow systems of many hotels and other institutions, which are designed to deposit waste beyond the reef line, are aged and prone to leakage. These conditions put both our groundwater and seawater at risk.
Vehicular congestion throughout the island is detrimental to Bermuda’s residents, natural environment and built heritage.
- The following options must be explored for their benefit to all Bermuda’s residents:
- Daily charges for vehicle access to the City for private citizens.
- Increased public transportation efficiency and availability.
- Vehicular restrictions on certain streets in Hamilton.
The introduction and mandatory usage of catalytic converters, wherever applicable in Bermuda, is essential.
- Atmospheric pollution levels are gradually increasing in Bermuda, a portion of that increase is an unavoidable side effect of our burgeoning population. Catalytic Converters, which are required by law in both the United States and the European Union, have proven to be extremely effective in reducing harmful emissions from automobiles.
The continued monitoring of ground water, surface water and indicator species is essential for heading off catastrophic consequences to both Bermuda's natural environment and the health of its inhabitants.
- Government should maintain and enforce stringent regulations with respect to controlled chemicals and enact legislation to establish a public registry of all controlled chemicals imported to the island along with all relevant data relating to those chemicals, including whether or not they are in use. The protection of human health and environmental wellbeing must take precedence over the short-term benefits of chemical use.
Acquisition of Historic Buildings
The acquisition of significant historic buildings is of paramount importance in maintaining Bermuda’s cultural legacy.
- We have an obligation, especially given the current extreme developmental pressure, to insure that we do not lose these irreplaceable links to our past.
Resolution of Long Standing Issues
The time has come to address those long-standing environmental issues which have proven intractable in the past.
- Morgan’s Point and asbestos are two examples of issues of critical environmental importance which have continued unresolved for years. Land for development is in short supply while Morgan’s Point stands empty. The effects of asbestos on our environment are unproven and the costs of addressing the issue are unknown.