Saturday, September 05, 2009

Another Example of the All-Intrusive State

The suffocating embrace of Jersey's increasingly all-intrusive state continues, it seems, to grow apace.
Clameur de Haro has received the missive below from the rather grandiosely-titled Assistant Director, Environmental Protection, reminding him that oil spillage can (only can?) cause long-term damage to the environment (well Good Heavens - whoever would have guessed?) and enjoining him to affix to his oil tank a sticker urging preventive measures apparently derived, not so much from accumulated environmental expertise, as from the Handbook of the Bleedin' Obvious.

Check, CdeH is beseeched, the oil level in your tank before ordering more oil: gosh, never would have thought to do that.

Now Clameur de Haro would never, other than indulging in a little urinary extraction at the expense of the jobsworths, decry the need to protect our natural environment from avoidable pollution of this type (the need to expose and attack constantly the fallacies of the Great Anthropogenic Climate Change Scam being an entirely different matter). But there are a couple of aspects here which are troubling - apart from the obvious one of yet more public expense.

Firstly, to what extent was the public made aware that the 2007 Building Bye-Laws contained a provision requiring the display of an oil care sticker on domestic oil tanks? This in itself is a comparatively innocuous requirement, but what if it had been something altogether more drastic and far-reaching? Building Bye-Laws are either made by the Minister or go through the States Assembly on the nod with precious little scrutiny, so where was the information to the public?

Secondly, and even more disturbing, just how is the Planning and Environment Department aware that Clameur de Haro even has an oil tank? The majority of his neighbours use gas, and his tank installation was not one that required planning permission at the time it was undertaken, so from where, precisely, is P&E's information derived? The obvious inference has to be that it came from the oil suppliers, who presumably made their customer databases (and what else? - amount of oil usage?) available to P&E for the purposes of the latter's mailshot.

If so, then the oil suppliers have quite possibly breached local data protection legislation, and the States of Jersey in turn have either been complicit, or even procured the breach. CdeH provides personal information to his oil suppliers for the purposes of his business relationship with them, not in the expectation that it will be passed on to the agents of the state, and he will be taking this up with them.

Perhaps Jersey's Data Protection Commissioner, one of the few senior public officials for whom CdeH has much time, could adjudicate.

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