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  • “ESG on East side Bunkering Go Ahead”

    ESG stresses EIA MUST be published- 

    The ESG has now seen not one but two reports in Europa Sur (see below) confirming that bunkering on the east side of the Rock will commence this summer. This from the mouth of the Captain of the Port himself, Peter Hall. According to the article Mr Hall is saying the findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) have not yet been published but understands that it will permit daytime bunkering conditional to good weather etc. It is absolutely scandalous that we get to hear such news via the Spanish media. The ESG, along with various others in the community were last year consulted by the visiting scientists carrying out the EIA. It is quite unacceptable that after such consultation the green light is announced in the Spanish press sweeping aside all concerns and serious misgivings held by the consulted parties.

    The ESG has already contacted the Port to establish authenticity of the media reports but has so far not been able to get further clarity on the matter.

    The ESG calls upon the Gibraltar Government to explain itself to the community over an issue which will cause many waves. The concerns placed before Government and the EIA specialists are too numerous to go into here but suffice to say that the community will not allow this expansion to be passed through in this underhand manner. It makes an absolute mockery of the public consultation exercise authorised by the Port last autumn. Where is the EIA Report?

    Europa Sur Reports:



    ESG regards AEA news as positive but results needed


    ESG welcomes AEA Expertise

    The ESG welcomes the expertise AEA will bring to managing Gibraltar’s environment via the expansion programme planned by the Environmental Agency. But we are also concerned at how Gibraltar, along with other European countries, is failing to meet important EU targets on certain harmful pollutants within the necessary timeframes.  Neither are we or various other European member states meeting renewable energy targets as directed by EU resulting in extension of timeframes. 


    The ESG would like to see the AEA guide us to enhanced environmental performance levels which will significantly improve our air quality and use of green technologies within a short space of time- and not produce complex reports which could buy authorities more time. The group also hopes that specific carcinogens-not currently measured and identified in the Epidemiological Report for Gibraltar – will be included in the stated expansion programme of air pollution measurement on the Rock.


    By virtue of Government’s previous pronouncements, its Environmental Charter and EAMP, it is expected that the work of AEA will result in Government and industry alike promptly and fully implementing its recommendations. Government is therefore asked to confirm its commitment and provide the earliest proposed measures and timescale based on the earlier work which, according to AEA, has been done with Government.


    ESG radio newsletter Thursday 17th February 2011


    Today’s newsletter is brimming with news- there are a couple of global stories which are important to share with you as well as a few topical ones, so let’s get started. Here’s some advance warning of what is on the menu today – we shall talk about: Anti-whaling success in the Antarctic- about a potential blow to renewable energy and new technology for oil. About CEPSA buy-out, yes you heard right – we shall also discuss the possible arrival of another electric car campaign visiting the Rock, as well as Solar powered parking meters, and a brief look at the Sewage issue at Western Beach.  

    First though to the Antarctic and the Japanese Whalers Scientific Expeditions- this weeks Independent online reports that this year’s harvest of 1,000 whales by the Japanese Whalers only possible under a legal loophole,  has been interrupted by the sustained and brave efforts of activists with the NGO, the Sea Shepherd. It seems the whaling ships have pulled out from the area but it’s not clear if it’s a decoy or permanent move. Amidst stories from Wikileaks and threats by the Japanese Govt, it’s unclear whether the Sea Shepherd will succeed in seeing a moratorium prevail on this illegal whaling. It won’t stop them from trying and we send them our thanks and best of luck in their endeavours. Visit independent online under nature for the full report.

    We mentioned news of a technological breakthrough in accessing oil. While being seen as great news by the industry, new drilling methods known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking means that many dead oil fields could now spring into life allowing difficult to get at reserves to be accessed. For business and energy security in many countries in the short term, this will be seen as extremely good news. But what does this mean for global warming? For necessary and rapid investment in renewable energy? For public and environmental health and wildlife protection? I would urge you to visit two sites to get both sides of the story: See foxnews.com on the positives for industry and energy security, while the Bucket Brigade Site, under: GCMonitor.org reveals the serious impact such methods are already having in the States on people’s lives and on the resulting contamination of the natural environment.

    News that an Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund has purchased the CEPSA Petrochemical Company which includes the nearby and heavily polluting Oil Refinery has really raised eye brows locally. Clearly this development has to be monitored and our group will be discussing this in some detail to see what this change will bring if any, to environmental compliance at the local plant. We shall be reacting separately to this development. Watch this space!

    On renewable energy we have a couple of items of news for you: the ESG has been contacted by French campaigners supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, who are carrying out a world wide campaign to promote electric cars via a “round the world race”- there is a strong chance that one or more cars, will be visiting the Rock tomorrow on a northbound journey through Europe. If so we shall meet the visitors and ensure they know that Gibraltar is interested in alternative and clean transport! Also on the subject of energy the ESG is delighted to see the solar powered parking meters going up at Landport Ditch- we strongly believe that such micro-technologies should be used widely to take advantage of our sunny weather and reduce our oil consumption – this is a positive step!

    Finally, we would like to thank MEP Graham Watson for his special visit to Gibraltar last week where he received a petition and official complaint from the ESG and concerned citizens about the high sewage contamination off Western Beach. Mr Watson has since written to the ESG saying that he thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking to all those at the protest pledging his full support to do whatever he can to help resolve this situation.

    We shall of course, keep you updated with further news on this and other issues.

    That’s it for now, for ongoing updates and news plse visit our website: www.esg-gib.net

    ESG Protest and CEPSA Report 11th February 2011


    “Reaction to Protest:”

    ESG is delighted with yesterday’s turn-out at the Western Beach Protest. Easily surpassing numbers at previous actions, the group was very encouraged by the support expressed by the crowd as well as the clear commitment given by MEP Graham Watson who vows to seek assistance from Brussels. The ESG believes the presence of the small but determined group on the Spanish side of the border made up of members of the AGADEN and VERDEMAR Spanish environmental groups highlight the cross border nature of this problem and how it affects us all. Let’s hope that all efforts will secure a speedy resolution to this problem.

    “RE CEPSA Campaign”:

    On another important ESG Campaign, the group met with the MEP at Hassan’s law firm hosted by David Dumas QC. The agenda focused on the ongoing battle to clean up the Oil Refinery in the Bay and accelerate compliance with environmental legislation. The MEP presented some very interesting and robust ideas to the team on how matters can be taken further within the European Commission with his continued assistance.  David Dumas also presented some ideas on legal actions.

    These options will now be worked on by the ESG and it is expected that further developments will take place before the summer. This is a situation that requires a sustained campaign. 

    At the meetings conclusion the ESG presented the MEP with a file containing an official complaint to the European Commission on the cross border sewage issue off Western Beach.

    As if to highlight how important it is for the ESG to continue to press for higher environmental safety standards at the petrochemical installation,  only this week La Junta de Andalucía found it necessary to issue a public alert on the serious levels of hydrogen sulphide  found near Guadarranque, a dangerous chemical if present at certain levels. It is likely that the leak came from the Oil Refinery. For the Junta to actually issue an alert one can only guess at how serious the incident must really have been and the ESG intends to investigate this further with colleagues across the border.

    “We shall, as always, inform the community when we have further information”, finished the ESG.

    ESG on meeting with MEP Graham Watson and support for Western Beach Protest

    The ESG would like to inform the community that MEP Graham Watson, will be visiting the Rock on the 10th February and will in the course of his visit be focusing on two key environmental issues.

    The MEP will first meet with the ESG and David Dumas QC of Hassans International Law Firm, to discuss the ongoing official complaint in Brussels regarding environmental compliance by CEPSA Oil Refinery and the ever expanding petrochemical complex in the Bay.

    The ESG will then accompany Mr Watson to Western Beach where a protest will be held on both sides of the border as from 6pm.  Citizens and environmental groups will demand that urgent action is needed to stop raw sewage being discharged into the area by the La Linea authority, which has resulted in indefinite beach closure (see link http://www.environmental-agency.gi/beachresult.php?beachid=6 for levels of contamination in this area).

    Spanish Environmental groups are hoping to hold a parallel protest on their side of the border at the same time given this pollution is also affecting their marine environment and citizens too.

    A clear cross border issue, we are hoping this problem can receive maximum assistance from the visiting MEP. Mr Watson will receive a petition by beach users and NGO’s for the Petitions Committee at the European Parliament, as well as a dossier and official complaint by the ESG which the MEP can submit to the Commission itself.

    It is expected the protest will last half an hour or so – the ESG urge everyone concerned to be there on time.”

    ESG on Govt Action Plan 3.2.11

    ESG on the publication of EAMP (Environmental Action and Management Plan 2011) 3.2.2011

    “The ESG is very pleased that Government has finally released its Action Plan on managing Gibraltar’s Environment. We have campaigned for such a development for close to a decade and its arrival is overdue and welcome. Because of our genuine interest and concern over environmental issues however, we need to highlight what we believe to be the positive aspects of the Plan and also its shortcomings. We shall briefly outline these here but shall be seeking meetings with Government to discuss these further.


    In 2005, the ESG, and others, were approached by Government in a consultation exercise aimed at getting feedback on environmental issues of concern towards the drafting of the Environmental Charter. The ESG put together a detailed document, attached here[i], which clearly lays out our concerns (in 2005) and highlights areas needing action.

    Looking at the Action Plan with those concerns in mind, we do not think it addresses all core issues with enough urgency, intent, or transparency. While acknowledging the high quality of the document in terms of layout and detail, it fails to address many of the more significant environmental issues affecting Gibraltar’s community and environment. It also fails to transmit a clear message from Government that it plans any real change in the foreseeable future.  

    For example:

    • The serious environmental impacts from our power stations, desalination plants, dockyard, bunkering activities and more  – are only referred to in passing in the Plan and it does not propose that these should be subject to any particular action or mitigation; this refers to noise and air pollution;
    • Renewable Energy research or implementation is only referred to as long-term issues, measured in terms of 3-5 years! 
    • The Plan does not adequately demonstrate application of the Precautionary Principle or Best Available Technology to all activity in Gibraltar so as to limit environmental impact on community and environment;
    • The Plan fails to demonstrate political will in changing the status quo- as it stands there is little prospect of the plan being incorporated into the day-to-day governance of Gibraltar as it is not accompanied by a “statement of intent” by heads of Government undertaking to implement the Plan and acknowledge the need for urgent action on environmental issues at a cross-ministerial level;
    • The timeframes set out are not only non-enforceable by an independent agent, but in the case of the 3/5yr slots not even expected to be met by the next elected Government within their next term of office! This is hardly evidence of a strong commitment to achieving the aims within a short timescale; With all time-frames, especially the longer ones (3/5yrs) it would be preferable to have identified multiple target waypoints in each project so that the community can corroborate that each schedule is on-track;

    All that said, the great effort that has gone into producing such a mature document is commended. We shall campaign for this valuable tool to be expanded to include key areas outlined above and for the Plan itself to be implemented energetically to improve our quality of life as well as Gibraltar’s environmental performance.

    See attached document which is ESG submission on Charter Consultation Process 2005

    [i] ESG Environmental Charter Submission 2005 posted on www.esg-gib.net






    Today’s newsletter will include local environmental issues affecting us all- there’s no doubt that the environment is being discussed a lot these days as indeed it should. In fact the ESG hopes that televised debates on environmental issues will be scheduled into the GBC timetable to ensure that recent developments are debated openly and reflected upon in some depth. Among these I include the Epidemiological study findings and ongoing process and of course the published Environmental Action and Management Plan.

    This latest publication has been greatly anticipated by our group who has lobbied for an Environmental policy, Charter and indeed Action Plan of implementation for many years now. We are issuing a press release today with our reaction on how we believe this Plan sets out Governments intention or otherwise of addressing key environmental issues in Gibraltar. This will also be posted on our website which is: esg-gib.net

    Regarding other issues clearly our electricity problems are riding somewhat high in terms of importance and impact but it is simply a development that we knew would occur because remedial action was not taken when it should. While our technical people address the immediate issue of restoring a stable power supply, the urgency of a replacement power station, compliant with all EU laws cannot be understated and we expect to hear from our Government soon on when this will be started.

    Another side to this of course is our thoughtless use of energy. How vulnerable we are when all our appliances are reliant on external power supply.  How complacent we have become in our use of energy indeed for our work and our entertainment. Also and importantly the need to use resources such as electricity and water with care- The recent breakdown in power supply gives us all a good chance to look around our offices and homes and see how much unnecessary use of energy goes on in our lives and reduce consumption and make a difference.

    Moving on to CEPSA and another of our core issues- we were somewhat surprised to hear GBC announce recently that the European Parliament and Commission were making statements about CEPSA emissions and health issues. The ESG plans to sit with MEPs soon to review all these issues in depth and plan a strategy to ensure onward compliance with environmental regulation by large industries in the Bay.

    A reminder finally about Western Beach and Sewage pollution – we urge everyone who hasn’t yet signed the petition to do so online- visit our ESG website and you can do this with ease- also please ask your family and friends to do so too. The next protest is planned for the 10th Feb at 6pm at the beach and we are pleased to announce that our Spanish environmental colleagues Agaden and Verdemar hope to hold a parallel protest on the other side of the border to show solidarity on an issue which also affects their citizens and environment. We sincerely hope that these measures will help bring about change and get the beach cleaned up.

    This will only happen if citizens support such actions and this is a direct appeal to you listening today to support the protest, and help us solve this problem. Hope to see you there!

    Thanks for listening!!