Our ebillers help National Trust to restore Island's Elm population

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Elms across the Island: JE's Gregor Wake helps plant the sixth Elm at Old Mont à l’Abbé Cemetery watched by (l to r) National Trust Lands Manager Jon Parkes, JE Customer Service Manager Jerry Robins and St Helier Director of Parks and Open Spaces Tony Andrews

Our customers who switched to electricity ebills in the autumn have helped the National Trust for Jersey begin to restore the Elm tree population right across the Island with over 70 of the target 80 Elms delivered or planted in 10 of Jersey’s 12 parishes.

The 80 Elms project was to commemorate the Trust’s 80th anniversary in 2016. To fund the £2,400 Elm project and launch the Trust’s new Wildlife ‘Hedge Fund’ we donated £5 for every customer who switched from paper bills to ebills. So far St Peter has received 24 Elms, Trinity, St John, St Martin, St Brelade, St Ouen and Grouville six each, St Saviour three and St Mary one.

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The latest is St Helier where last week Tony Andrews, Director of Parks and Open Spaces, planted the final of six Elms in Old Mont à l’Abbé Cemetery. He said: ‘The Elms are perfect for re-creating the avenue that was once lined with Oaks.’ Tony was aided by Jersey Electricity’s Financial Controller Gregor Wake and Customer Service Manager Jerry Robins and National Trust Lands Manager Jon Parkes.

Jon said: ‘We have so far delivered or planted 72 trees out of 80. We have assisted a few parishes with planting but most have, or will be, planting their own. The locations have been left up to the parishes to decide in most cases. But we have advised that we would like to see them in prominent locations around the parish to allow people to see and enjoy them. Typically, they have been planted on roadside verges, village greens, church yards, amenity spaces and one by an old people’s home. We have also planted one as a memorial.’

St Peter Constable John Refault said: ‘Our roads maintenance staff have already planted a number of the Elms funded by the scheme but some have been set aside for a project I’m pursuing for a small copse of seven to be planted on the green at the entrance to Ville de L'Eglise, hopefully by children.’

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Trinity Constable Philip Le Sueur and the National Trust Senior Ranger Neil Harvey planting Elms by Trinity School

While in St John, Constable Christopher Taylor said: ‘The Trust planted the first trees for us and we are waiting for secure cattle guards to be erected before planting the sixth.’ In St Martin, Constable Michel Le Troquer said: ‘We’ve planted our six on the west of the Village Green.’

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The six Elms of St Martin on the west side of the Village Green

 From being one of the most common trees in Jersey it is now rare to see a mature Elm following the devastating outbreak of Dutch Elm disease in the mid-Sixties. But Jon added: ‘These new Elms are a disease resistant Elm tree cultivar (Ulmus Lobel) sourced from a tree nursery in the New Forest.’In addition to the Elms project, we have also enabled the Trust to begin planting hedges to provide food, shelter and nesting for birds and travel networks for hedgehogs and other wildlife. The Wildlife Hedge Fund aims to plant 1km of hedges a year initially around the Trust’s 600 vergees of agricultural land.

 Customer Service Manager Jerry Robins said: ‘We are pleased that we and our customers can help the Trust make a real difference to our countryside. Over half our customers now receive ebills and we’d like to continue this initiative to create more hedges and encourage customers to move to ebills. Amazingly, over 11,000 customers are currently missing out on an easy £12 a year discount off their bills because although they pay by Direct Debit, they haven’t signed up for ebills. If they do both, we pass the saving back by discounting £3 off quarterly bills. All they have to do is call us on 505460 or email bills@jec.co.uk’