Jersey Tree Strategy
Dialogue Matters and the Government of Jersey and Jersey communities and stakeholders
This award was sponsored by:
This project is the story of a government making decisions with (not for) other stakeholders, co-creating Jersey’s first tree strategy. The strategy celebrates the multiple benefits of urban and rural trees, woodlands, and hedgerows and fulfils climate and nature commitments.
Dialogue Matters designed and facilitated a Consensus Building process enabling inclusive and principled negotiation. The Government of Jersey resourced the process and put forward volunteers to be trained by the Dialogue Matters team to neutrally facilitate. The co-creation process spanned July 2021-March 2022, with ongoing co-delivery and implementation.
This project brought stakeholders and decision makers together, going well beyond standard engagement practice. To achieve this Dialogue Matters and the Government of Jersey worked together to put local communities at the heart of the decision-making and deliver genuine empowerment.
Initially, Dialogue Matters assessed the situation and found active tension e.g., between citizens and developers around loss of valued trees and replacement with poorly cared-for tree whips. Fundamental to the project was the importance of enabling mutual understanding of interests and concerns, harnessing all forms of knowledge. Time was provided between workshops for participants to reflect on what was emerging, checking with those whose interests they represented before consolidating conclusions. Ensuring a balanced invitation list of 44 people including biodiversity specialists, youth and farming voices, tree management, and various other stakeholder groups meant that all stakeholder groups were fairly represented. The discussion took an asset-based approach, focusing on strengths and identifying resources for change whilst laying the foundations for ongoing participation and influence.
The Consensus Building process requires collaborative knowledge sharing approach (avoiding biased outcomes. Accordingly:
- Everyone was regarded a specialist e.g., young people about their needs or communities about culturally important trees
- Concise unbiased introductory information was used, explaining the task and level of influence
- Workshop 1 started with creating a vision, exchanging many knowledges and views
- Online and paper surveys tested Workshop 1 outputs, with the wider community able to feedback to the deliberative group
- Workshop 2 started with a summary of findings and information about existing knowledge around Jersey’s tree stock, and then worked up priorities.
The asset-based approach surfaced existing initiatives and progress as well as resources for change. Despite the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, progress was still able to be made and wider online and paper engagement enabled 323 people to provide 1071 comments. By reassuring participants that they brought their own specialist knowledge the team was able to enhance people’s confidence and ability to contribute, thereby facilitating the exploration of option from multiple perspectives. A new stakeholder ‘Sounding Board’ was agreed to guide strategy implementation and a key outcome was the increased levels of trust among stakeholders and well-informed policy decisions.
The main impacts of this project were changes to planning law and environmental policy, and a government commitment to share responsibility for the planting, management, and protection of Jersey’s trees with stakeholders. Shortand long-term impacts included improved mutual understanding built between stakeholders about how better to protect trees and an agreed vision, principles, and priorities for the future strategy that were well-supported. Jersey’s first ever Tree Strategy was published on 10th May 2022.
In the longer term trees have been brought under the protection of planning law and there is a review of existing legal provisions to protect trees of special importance. The Jersey Tree Forum has been created to engage stakeholders in ongoing dialogue about tree protection and management A Jersey tree database is being produced to aid future assessment of tree stock and partnerships are developing between the Government and the private sector for tree planting and protection.
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