A heated row has broken out in the Channel Islands over Jersey’s claim to be the sunniest place in Britain.
Officials regularly boast that the island is the ‘warmest, sunniest’ spot in Britain and use the accolade to attract tourists.
But the title is being disputed by neighbour and arch-rival Guernsey, which insists that it is the UK’s true top hotspot. Officials there have even accused Jersey of distorting the figures.
With a Jersey newspaper branding Guernsey ‘cold, wet and eternally cloudy’, the two islands are fighting over the title of sunniest spot in Britain – with the winner likely to bag more of the tourist trade, and the loser taking an economic hit.
Figures released last month showed Jersey had taken the 2019 crown, with a total of 2,298 hours of sunshine measured at its weather station at Fort Regent.
But a counter-claim was lodged by Guernsey, which claims the high location of the fort gives a false reading because extra morning and evening sun distorts the figures. Guernsey says it would be fairer to compare the airports on the two islands – which sees Guernsey winning by 1,875 hours to 1,781.
The row was sparked by an article in the Guernsey Press. Headlined ‘It’s official – we are sunnier than Jersey’, the newspaper went on to say: ‘The marketing strapline of “sunniest place in the British Isles” has been hugely successful for the biggest Channel Island.
‘However, by comparing like with like at the two airports, Guernsey emerges as the clear winner in the sunshine stakes.’
John Searson, principal meteorologist at weather forecaster Jersey Met, said Jersey was typically sunnier than Guernsey, with an annual average of 1,986 hours of sunshine during the 30 years to 2010 compared with 1,868 hours on Guernsey.
But he added: ‘We concede that Jersey airport had less sunshine than Guernsey airport.’
Tourism bodies Visit Jersey and Visit Guernsey have refused to be drawn into the row, but there has been a angry reaction from proud Jersey residents.
Daniel Straiton said: ‘The difference is, when the sun shines down on Jersey it’s lighting up a thing of beauty.
When it shines on that other rock, there is nothing worthwhile to shine on.’
The row comes as Britain braces for Storm Ciara, which is expected to bring gales of 80mph.
Weather warnings from the Met Office are in place from midday tomorrow until Tuesday, with coastal areas preparing for potential flooding.