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  • RADIO BROADCAST 130511 (delayed)

    ESG Radio Broadcast 13th May 2011

    • Today’s radio broadcast will focus on four separate issues:

    The first is to refer you to this week’s publication of an exciting new report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, otherwise known as the IPCC. The reports authors underline the significant future role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and powering sustainable development using existing renewable energy technologies. A global team of technological experts and scientists studied over 160 scenarios using the potential of six separate renewable energy technologies and the details of their assessments are contained in a thousand page report, the link of which will be posted on the ESG website: www.esg-gib.net.

    In a world where nuclear energy is being pressed forward as the energy of choice to combat climate change, this report is very timely offering in-depth technical and socio economic analysis.  Anyone interested in learning about the actual viability of renewable energy, as opposed to arguments pushed forward by vested interests, will find this new report of great interest. You may be interested to know that the energies being considered by the IPCC are:

    Bio energy, direct solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy and wind energy

    • The second area of focus is our very own wish list for parties standing for local elections. A very comprehensive 5 page list of measures we believe could greatly enhance both our quality of life and our environment will be published on our website this weekend and sent to our local press as well as directly to all parties over the next few days. The ESG has produced two previous wish lists, our first, in 2003, calling for an environmental policy to be declared by all parties. We believe we have come a long way in achieving the necessary awareness, of course, aided by the evolution of environmental legislation from Europe. However, Gibraltar is unique in many ways, not least in environmental matters and we believe we must go over and above legal limits and requirements in order to safe guard our environment and our families. Measures covered in our wish list address: climate change, energy, pollution, traffic, recycling, bunkering, sewage treatment, conservation, planning, Govts own Env Action and Management Plan, Cross Border issues and Epid Studies

    Watch out for our 2011 wish list and proposed measures!!

    • Getting down to very specific issues, bunkering fumes and other pollution continues to affect the community and the ESG is taking up this issue most vigorously on behalf of all complainants with the relevant agencies and ministries. We repeat our call for the public to report problems as they are occurring especially regarding bunkering related fumes- number to call is 56001652, for other sources you should call 200-70620 during office hours, or 200-72500 and ask for the Environmental officer on Duty.   Please also inform the ESG of your reports as you make them.
    • Finally, we shall be issuing a press release shortly on the Public Health Conference which took place last weekend in Algeciras.  It is always extremely beneficial to listen to Professor Benach share his views and understanding on matters of public health, especially of his concerns about the state of health of communities in the Spanish bay towns. Mr Benach has begun assessing our own Epid Study and we now await a full report which we know will bring his global expertise to better understanding our own problems and needs more fully.


    We look ahead to our next broadcast where we shall share some more news on our environment.   Thanks for listening.

    Concerns over another collision off Gibraltar

    27th May 2011

    “A report in the Gibraltar Chronicle that a minor collision occurred off Gibraltar this week between a Chinese ship and a floating petrol vessel anchored in the bay is of extreme concern to the ESG. This is a grave reminder of the very real threat posed to our environment from existing maritime activity. This “minor” collision reminds us that even with the application of best technology such as Vessel Tracking Systems in place and trained personnel that – accidents do and will continue to happen.

    In a press release issued by the ESG in January 2011 we highlighted this risk in response to the official launch by the Port of Gibraltar of its new VTS monitoring technology. We expressed concerns then that while the VTS would have an immaculate record of what happened, it would not necessarily be able to prevent an incident. This latest collision demonstrates how our concerns have been realised and how important it is for the Gibraltar Government to rethink its planned bunkering expansion to the East Side. The ESG believes that VTS should be used to increase distance between ships and therefore safety, and not to increase shipping density.”


    See below ESG PR Jan 2011 on VTS

    ESG on the VTS (Vessel Tracking System)        13th January 2011

    The ESG welcomes the news of the VTS system finally being introduced in the Port of Gibraltar. The group also expects that the new safety cushion created by the system on the present level of shipping should not once again be eroded by increasing the amount of shipping. This is akin to the refinery reducing air emissions per ton of oil processed but then increasing its capacity to negate this and even add more pollution.

    If traffic is increased so that there is a greater concentration of shipping around Gibraltar this will further reduce the distance between ships and/or the reaction time available to the Port to react to a crisis situation which will make serious shipping incidents very likely.

    The ESG adds that we might have an immaculate record of what happened and how it happened but the incident will not have been avoided.

    The group takes this opportunity of urging the Gibraltar Government to rethink current plans to expand bunkering activity to the eastern side of the Rock


    ESG Radio May 27th 2011  

    After our last radio broadcast a couple of callers rang in to Radio Gibraltar with some questions and observations prompted by what they’d just heard. We welcome this. We’d therefore like to start this week’s broadcast by responding to these comments. The first caller asked why local environmental groups were not publicly addressing the issue of contaminated sand from the tunnel works. Firstly, and speaking for ourselves, we would like to remind anyone concerned and interested in local environmental issues to please contact us for information.  As it happens the ESG has been in discussion on this issue with members of the public and Govt for some time and we have also requested permission to visit the Soil Cleansing Plant based at Catalan Bay Car Park. We have also sought to verify the monitoring being carried out by the Dept of Environment, Environmental Agency and Technical Services. If we learn that action is being taken to ensure best practice is carried out and that plans exist to address and improve a situation then we save our energies for public lobbying on other matters. We ask the caller to please contact us if he has a specific question we can help with.

    A second caller followed asking us to “lay off the internet” and focus on issues that matter like the Refinery – Clearly the caller is not aware of our CEPSA Campaign which has dominated our agenda since we formed as a group nearly ten years ago. We have spearheaded the local/cross border and European campaign against the Refinery to force change upon this toxic plant to clean up its act! and fail to see how we can be challenged on this front. We invite the caller to visit our website where she will find loads of information on the close to ten year campaign. Well, perhaps she doesn’t use the internet so she could then call us on 200-48996 and we shall be very pleased to provide her with this information.

    As a voluntary environmental group with limited resources we nevertheless believe we are helping place environmental issues in the public domain and we shall continue to do so.

    We would like to now refer to our Wish List on the environment which was published recently and produced specifically to lobby all parties standing for election in 2011. We should say that we have been impressed and surprised by the scale and nature of responses we have received to date from both ESG members & the public which has sparked off a debate in its own right.

    If you haven’t yet caught up with our list we recommend you do so. You can download this from our website, or call us for a copy which can be sent to you. The ESG remains open to suggestions, ideas and information resources and welcomes your feedback.

    A reminder that “World Environmental Day” is coming up on the 5th June. The ESG has been invited to participate in a Malta Based, Mediterranean wide Environmental Exhibition held to commemorate “World Environment Day” as well as “World Oceans Day”. The exhibition will display materials from local and foreign NGO’s working on issues such as: water and air pollution, diminishing resources, climate change and more with the key aim of “stimulating worldwide awareness of environmental issues and encourage political action”. We shall be sent more information on the exhibition by the organizers and hope to share this with you soon.  

    Finally, we are constantly reminded that lasting environmental change starts with each and every one of us. So why not try and turn over a green leaf on World Environment Day and do something positive for the environment? Get involved! Visit our website for local campaign information at esg-gib.net. Visit the GONHS website at: gonhs.org for information on our wonderful wildlife and local biodiversity- also visit Govts own website on the environment which may surprise some of you as it carries a growing number of useful reports and articles on  local issues – You can find this at: gibraltar.gov.gi/environment/environment

    Thanks for listening.   ESG


    The ESG is delighted with yesterday’s announcement by the Gibraltar Government that a free bus service will be available for everyone as from this weekend (Frontier route excepted). This is really excellent news that sees one of the items on our wish list obtained even before the election.

    A free bus service could make a real difference in traffic and pollution levels locally if people embrace it and use it. The ESG hopes we will especially as regular bus use would reduce our fuel bills which are on the rise as petrol becomes ever more expensive. With the ongoing privatisation of car parks and parking tickets ever a threat, leaving the car at home for non-essential use could become the norm. Reducing stress in always looking for a parking space is another bonus of using a reliable and regular free bus service with a growing number of routes.

    The ESG has long campaigned for action on reducing air and noise pollution from our environment and we therefore reiterate our delight that with a robust bus service in place other measures can now move forward to liberate our streets from congestion thereby encouraging healthier mobility such as walking and cycling.


    European Commission Study on  Health and costs of Air Pollution  in European Cities

    A new study has shown that life expectancy and monetary benefits increase significantly when levels of fine particles are reduced further in European cities. It also reveals that living near busy roads could be responsible for a substantial amount of poor health attributable to air pollution.

    Despite the fact that improving good air quality is a major EU goal, many Member States have exceeded mandated limit values on particles since 2005. National agendas are currently preparing for implementing existing regulations on air pollution and for revising current EU legislation in 2013. As such, it is essential to understand and quantify the effects of air pollutants on health and their economic impacts, as well as realising the benefits of further action.

    The study, conducted under the EU Aphekom project1, used traditional health impact assessment (HIA) methods to estimate the health and monetary gains from complying with WHO guidelines on PM2.5, PM10 and ozone, and from implementing the existing EU legislation on reducing the sulphur content of fuels. The project involved 60 scientists in 12 European countries.

    As part of its findings, the study calculated that reducing exposure to PM2.5 in 25 European cities to the level recommended by WHO guidelines (10 micrograms per cubic metre) could add up to 22 months to the life expectancy for each citizen currently aged 30, depending on the city and its current level of pollution. The greatest gain in life expectancy was seen for Bucharest, Romania (22.1 months) and for Budapest, Hungary (19.3 months).

    This reduction is valued at some €31.5 billion every year, including savings on health expenditures, absenteeism and intangible costs, such as well-being, life expectancy and quality of life.

    The researchers also applied innovative HIA methods to investigate the effects of ultrafine particles on the health of populations living near roads carrying heavy traffic. Specifically, in 10 European cities, the study estimated that living near busy roads could be responsible for 15 to 30 per cent of all new cases of asthma in children and for similar or higher percentages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary heart disease in people aged 65 and older. In the cities studied, for children and adults, 65 and over, the associated burden is estimated to be approximately €300 million every year.

    Lastly, the project evaluated the impact of existing legislation on reducing the sulphur content in fuels in 20 cities. The findings revealed a marked, sustained reduction in ambient sulphur dioxide levels which has prevented about 2,200 premature deaths valued at €192 million.

    As well as identifying the health impacts and costs of air pollution and the possible gains from achieving reduction targets, the project developed a process to help scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders share their views and assist decision making on air quality and related environmental-health issues.

    Because different stakeholders have different priorities in terms of land use, social issues, health and public transport, using this process structures their exchanges so they can efficiently discuss multiple criteria for evaluating, prioritising and aligning their various needs and choose actions that match their objectives and preferences.

    1. Aphekom (Improving Knowledge and Communication for Decision-making on Air Pollution and Health in Europe) was supported by the European Commission under the Programme on Community Action in the Field of Public Health. See: www.aphekom.org

    Source: Summary report of the Aphekom project 2008-2011. Improving Knowledge and Communication for Decision Making on Air Pollution and Health in Europe. Report downloadable from:

    Contact: s.medina@invs.sante.fr

    Theme(s): Air pollution, Environment and health



    May 2011

    For the past decade the ESG has campaigned locally, regionally, and at European and global level for a healthy environment pressing for environmental policies to be matched by investment and political will.[1] The following, if adequately addressed, would go a long way towards making the necessary environmental improvements in Gibraltar:


    a) Climate Change Forum to present biannual reports at public meetings to encourage community engagement, participation and awareness of the single most important issue facing humanity today;

    b) NGO participation important – climate change affects everyone and should be cross party and include interested stakeholders such as environmental NGO’s;

    c) This “Think Tank” should look at Gibraltar’s long term sustainability with regards to energy, water, and food, and map out alternative strategies for future secure provision of our basic needs. In the full knowledge that Climate Change and its impacts will have devastating consequences for future generations, it is essential that we take responsibility by launching a well funded research programme and plan of action and not simply expect others to “deal with this” at some future time!


    a) Renewable Energy projects to be launched with short and long-term targets. Modern Power Station using diesel engines could be modified to use biofuel (such as olive oil from Europe, generated as a by product, available regionally) enabling Gibraltar to comply in time with EU Directives.

    b) Meanwhile a sustained programme is needed to modify our grid to allow selling of electricity to the Electricity Authority by private micro generation of electricity. (Solar Water Heating, Photovoltaics, Photovoltaic roof tiles, Micro Wind Turbines, etc.) ;

    c) Government Grants to be set up to encourage approved micro systems for renewable energy for the householder;

    d) Project to reduce our energy use for example only allowing the higher efficiency household items to be imported or highly taxing the less efficient items; (“A” classification items for energy consumption being the best) banning of importation of incandescent light bulbs; replacement of all street lighting for high efficiency LED’s or similar;

    e) While some reports on renewable energy feasibility for Gibraltar are already available (see MoD report 2005 – contact ESG for info) fresh research and focus into how best to harness energy from the multiple sources open to us needs to be set up with no further delay and for this to be done openly inviting ideas and resources from interested stakeholders;

    f) Gibraltar-wide study to be conducted to assess energy efficiency and consumption to limit unnecessary or wasteful practices;

    g) Vigorously pursue other Govt own stated objectives as set out under its Environmental and Action Management Plan;



    a) It’s important that our three ageing power stations are closed once the new replacement station is built within the expected deadline of end 2012. This would allow us to comply with EU directives on air quality and substantially elevate the quality of life in residential areas around these power stations;

    b) It is essential to place strict environmental controls on all polluting industry in Gibraltar to eliminate effects beyond the fence line e.g. oil treatment, desalination, dockyard, cement factories, refuse storage and transport, petrol stations, etc. Mitigating technologies exist and Government and the private sector should be directed to invest in environmental protection equipment and practice regardless of whether legally required. The absence of safe buffer zones due to our size demands that we do not only settle for compliance on environmental protection standards as do larger countries. It is after all, our own community and hence our own families we are trying to protect;

    c) Ensure the Precautionary Principle is a key factor when assessing impacts and mitigating needs of all industry related activity;

    d) Re-invent the Environment Agency to be target driven and results orientated with a mission to make Gibraltar as pollution free as possible. For this agency to become autonomous and independently enforce environmental and public health laws;

    e) Such targets to include the systematic application of BAT (Best Available Technology) in all industry;


    a) Traffic reduction measures and schemes and new low emission public transport targets to be actively developed;

    b) Free Bus Service for local residents to be introduced without further delay;

    c) Incentives for low emission vehicles over heavily polluting ones to be applied (reward and penalising schemes);

    d) Control and eventual elimination of two-stroke motorbikes as these produce high levels of air and noise pollution;

    e) While welcome to see cycling encouraged on our roads, this cannot take place without accompanying rules and safety guidelines: Cycle lanes to be included in new roads/Warning Signs for motor vehicle drivers to be aware of cyclists/Cyclists to adhere to safe road use- e.g. set up road signs targeting cyclists-indicate, respect lights, etc.

    f) Road surfaces to be maintained year round as pot holes pose a serious danger to cyclists and motorbike riders, raising risk of accident and collision with cars;

    g) Increase road safety by creating more pavements to encourage walking

    g) Consideration of feedback from public consultation exercise on Govt Transport Plan namely ESG’s and ITWMC among others;



    a) Recycling of all our refuse – sustained public awareness and enforcement campaign;

    b) Enforcement of litter and fly tipping laws;

    c) Creation of a dedicated Eco Park to reduce fly tipping and waste piles (eye sores);

    d) Netting enclosure at City Dump to limit spread of lightweight waste onto our roads and green cliffs;

    e) Facilities to be provided at the City Dump to receive paper, plastic and cardboard waste for onward recycling which at present goes to landfill;

    f) Development and promotion of Govt Recycling Policy to ensure that all high waste producers of glass and cans use the recycling services available today. (This to include schools, hospitals, clubs, bars and restaurants);




    a) Freeze and controls imposed on Bunkering activities to include vapour recovery;

    b) Disallow East Side Bunkering as this will increase air pollution problems as well as significantly raise the risks of a serious oil spill with devastating implications for humans, marine and bird life and our economy;

    c) Full disclosure of income evaluation of bunkering and port activity to the public purse, taking into account the degrading impacts this has on quality of life and marine environment, as well as to our tourist product which is sustainable and critically important to our economy;

    d) Elimination of floating petrol stations;

    e) In setting up land based fuel storage alternative, this to be done to the highest standards and using BATS, including full public consultation during planning and construction process. Commercial sensitivities should not be used to withhold information on new, polluting activity;


    a)Sewage treatment plant to be installed without further delays to eliminate raw sewage disposal to the sea (and if it can be done anaeorobically/ eliminating smells and producing methane as a by product for energy production, all the better);




    a) Expansion of Nature Reserve to include East side sand slopes down to the sea joining it up with marine protected area. (To protect the last bit of natural coastline remaining in Gibraltar);

    b) Major expansion of urban tree numbers and major creation/expansion and up keep of urban green areas;

    c) Due consideration of key areas and recommendations as factored in the Upper Rock Management Plan produced by the GONHS

    d) Upper Rock Authority announced some time back needs re-launching and should include active participation from relevant stakeholders, public discussion and participation in the decision making process;



    a) Complete overhaul of Planning Procedure in Gibraltar;

    b) DPC to have a neutral chair, to be open and transparent with public consultation on all major projects;

    c) EIA’s to include consideration of the existing environment on new development projects as well as impacts from new projects on the environment;

    d) All major projects, including Govt, to undergo EIA’s given the limitations of land space in Gibraltar and need for best assessment ahead of breaking ground;

    e) Adherence to Best Practice in planning to be applied to all Planning Procedures in Gibraltar;

    f) Recommendations made under the Strategic Environmental Plan released alongside Gibraltar’s’ Development Plan to be given open and serious consideration: Most importantly Gibraltar must consider setting limits on levels of development, traffic and pollution to safeguard quality of life;

    g) Gib Dev Plan “green measures” and check-list to be actively applied and reviewed;

    h) Green Building Legislation to be vigorously adhered to as well as developed to retrospectively tackle recent and major new development for improvements in environmental performance;



    EAMP (Environmental and Action Management Plan)-


    a) Urgent Govt wide implementation of its Environmental and Action Management Plan (EAMP –which nevertheless needs improving/expanding to address dockyard and bunkering as well as other impacting  activities on the Rock omitted from the Plan[2]);

    b) EAMP to permeate all Ministries and Departments, Agencies and others to ensure that all decisions reflect genuine environmental considerations as well as economic and technical factors;

    c) EAMP public presentation overdue and anticipated;








    a)      The cross border nature of the Bay’s environment means that achieving progress in environmental issues is often hampered by political issues, even though the solutions require cross border co-operation. Such pressures are once again evident in the impasse facing the Tripartite Process; a dialogue, that for a while, appeared to provide a workable model for co-operation at many levels including the environment.

    b)       A detailed appraisal on key environmental issues was produced by the three Govts involved (Spain, Gibraltar and United Kingdom), pledging to get to grips with cross border issues. A practical and technical approach was being designed at a cross border level that could provide technical and practical support and response to real problems and issues affecting people and the environment.

    c)      A group of 5 NGO’s from Gibraltar and Spain[3] have submitted three dossiers to the Tripartite Forum outlining critical regional environmental issues with potential solutions.   

    Issues include:-

    ● pollution ● health ● land reclamation ● urbanisation ● loss of green spaces & biosphere,

    ● sewage treatment ● industrial expansion ● maritime activity

    d)      Environmental NGO’s have also lobbied and secured their participation within the technical assessments under the Tripartite Process. This, however, has not yet taken place due to the indefinite stalling of the Tripartite Talks themselves. We hope the Government of Gibraltar will continue to seek co-operation at cross border level for environmental and health issues which are urgent in nature with a resumption of the working groups meeting under the Tripartite Forum.


    a)      One of the key and urgent areas to be considered is the true state of public health of Bay communities given their long term and chronic exposure to toxic emissions from poorly regulated heavy industry and the Oil Refinery based in the Spanish town of San Roque. Gibraltar’s first independently commissioned epidemiological study for the Gib population is an important first step but one that needs to be followed by further study to fully understand the state of our health, and the “potential” and “actual” impacts from environmental factors which most affect us including from local sources. Cross border studies are also necessary to gauge how the Bay environment impacts on the health of all Bay communities. The focus should then quickly move to bring all identified causes of ill- health and higher mortality in the area in line with best practice and best available technology within Europe with the aim of improving health prospects and quality of life.

    b)      The ESG and our public health advisers consider more research is required as well as an expansion of the existing air monitoring programme in Gibraltar (also advised by the report issued on the 1st Epid Study in January 2011).


    ESG Election Wish List


    It is hoped this wish list will be considered by all parties standing for 2011 elections. The ESG strongly believes that implementation of these measures would bring enormous benefits to our community and quality of life; offer greater sustainability and improve Gibraltar’s environmental performance.

    ESG Committee:    Contact J Howitt 54960000   H Pinna 200-78067   T Scott 58009259


    Please visit ESG website which carries a rich record of 8 years worth of media releases, reports, photographs, videos, interviews and more:    

    Website: www.esg-gib.net  Email: esg@gibtelecom.net  Tel: 200-48996    

    [1] Locally via various campaigns, lobbying, negotiation, information/ Regionally via cross border coalitions/at a European level via MEPs’ and the European Commission/Globally via the Bucket Brigade and scientific sampling

    [2] See ESG Website : http://www.esg-gib.net/esg-on-govt-action-plan-3-2-11/

    [3] ESG, GONHS, Greenpeace, AGADEN and Verdemar

    ESG Election 2011 Wish List

    ESG Press Release 18th May 2011


     The ESG has published an environmental wish list at every election that has taken place since the group was formed. For the upcoming election we have decided to once again put forward our key areas and recommended solutions on a 2011 Wish List in the hope that all parties standing for election will give this due consideration.

    Headings which form part of our list include:  Climate Change, Energy, Pollution, Traffic, Recycling, Bunkering, Sewage Treatment, Conservation, Planning, EAMP, Cross Border issues and Epidemiological Studies.

    The ESG has sent a copy of the wish list to all political parties and to the local media.

    Should any party wish to meet with us to discuss these issues further we shall be only too pleased to accept.

    ESG Committee May 2011

    ESG on Bank Holiday Fumes


    6th May 2011

    The ESG would like to advise that it received various calls in the run up and during the last holiday weekend from residents in the Western and north Western part of Gibraltar. With a caller praying for a Levanter that could help eliminate the noxious smells present in the newly constructed Waterport Terraces area, the ESG began to plan for possible air sampling- however, unfortunately, we had received the report once the worst of the smells had passed and so no samples were taken at the time.

    A few days before receiving that call, a Harbour Views resident wrote in absolutely fed up with the resumption of air pollution in the area believed to be caused by bunkering activity as the smells were of a rotten egg quality.

    This highlights two important issues which are of deep concern to the ESG, as well as to many others on the Rock.

    • Air pollution seriously affects one’s quality of life, and quite likely impacts on our health. We would like to provide a new number and contact to be called by the public when affected by pollution from what is suspected to be a port related activity – We urge people to call at the time the pollution is at its worst to ensure accurate detection and follow up.

    New Bunkering Superintendent Mr John Ghio/ New Contact Number 56001652

    The ESG also asks the public to copy the report to us either verbally by telephone on 200-48996 or via email on: esg@gibtelecom.net

    • This resurgence in air pollution from bunkering activity, quite common in warmer temperatures, also raises the likely prospect that rather than facing a future of less pollution in Gibraltar, with Govt pledged support for East Side Bunkering, the chances are that fumes will soon be present in our ambient air regardless of wind direction- ie we shall be getting it from both sides. This is the main reason, along with others, why the ESG is totally opposed to the planned bunkering expansion currently undergoing an EIA


    The group calls on the public to please report pollution issues as they are taking place to the relevant numbers provided to illustrate to Government the frequency and range of the existing problems which should be addressed and controlled and not increased.



    Please see below developments in Brussels thanks to MEP Graham Watson pursuing an urgent resolution to the sewage pollution at Western Beach. What follows is a statement Mr Watson’s office has issued to GBC today:-

    Watson wants long-term solution to sewage problem- 03 May 2011


    Gibraltar’s Liberal MEP Graham Watson has asked the European Commission to ensure that the building works being undertaken by authorities in La Linea provide a long-term solution to the problem of sewage on Western Beach.

    The call comes after the La Linea authorities confirmed to a Spanish environmental group that works are now underway to alleviate the problem. The Environment Agency of Gibraltar indicates that pollution levels also appear to be improving.

    However, campaigners in Gibraltar are concerned that improvements could be short-lived and that more substantial works may be needed.

    Watson commented;

    “I welcome the promising news from La Linea and the Environment Agency. However, with the holiday season now upon us, it is more important than ever that we reach a long-term solution to this very serious problem.”


    In a letter sent to Watson last week, a Commission official explained that the complaint he raised on behalf of local environmental campaigners deserved ‘further clarification from the competent Spanish authorities’ and will be investigated under the EU Pilot Scheme.

    Watson responded by passing on the concerns of Gibraltar’s Environmental Safety Group and asking the Commission to make the ‘swift and long-term resolution’ of the sewage problem a priority in these investigations.

    Watson continued;


    “I am committed to working with the European Commission and campaign groups to ensure the authorities in La Linea make the lasting changes that are needed to protect Western Beach and the wider environment for good. I have suggested to the Commission that this may even involve the construction of an outlet that flows several hundred metres from the shore.”

    The Commission will inform Watson directly of any findings.


    Editors Notes

    The EU Pilot project

    The EU Pilot project has been operating since April 2008 with the aim of providing quicker and fuller answers to questions, and solutions to problems arising in the application of EU laws, requiring confirmation of the factual or legal position in a Member State.

    Under EU Pilot an enquiry or complaint will be examined by the responsible service in the Commission and forwarded to the Member State authority concerned with any questions or indications identified by the Commission service.

    A general 10 week deadline has been set for responses to be provided.