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    16th AUGUST 2011

    STAKEHOLDERS: GONHS, ESG, Gibraltar Federation of Sea Anglers, Caleta Hotel, Gibraltar Sub Aqua Club, Both Worlds Residents Committee and Both Worlds Retirement Committee

    It is now two months since the ESG first contacted the Chief Minister on behalf of concerned stakeholders to register strong objections over the possible expansion of bunkering off the east side of the Rock. A folder containing detailed concerns from each party was also sent at the time to No. 6.

    No formal response has been received from the Gibraltar Government on this matter so far. All parties submitted their concerns to UK scientists last October during a preliminary EIA consultation exercise.

    The groups believe it is critical for this issue to be kept in the public domain in view of the widespread public interest and today issue a joint statement providing many reasons why bunkering expansion to the east side of the Rock should not be allowed. It is important to note that the various groups have specific reasons for objecting to bunkering expansion. However there is a large area of broad agreement which forms part of this statement.

    These are centred on five key areas:

    1. Environmental legislation and laws
    2. Bunkering impacts on the environment
    3. Bunkering impacts on quality of life
    4. Mitigating issues relating to bunkering
    5. Other, more general considerations

    The most important issue is the continued lack of EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), or Appropriate Assessment such as required under the Habitats Directive in view of the area’s status as a Special Area of Conservation. Not only has an Appropriate Assessment not been carried out but the initial EIA announced several months ago appears to have faltered and never been produced. This could indicate that the project has also been dropped which would be strongly welcomed by the undersigned groups.

    We would however, like to publicly set out why we oppose this type of industrial activity on the east side of Gibraltar.

    2. Bunkering impacts on the natural environment in a number of ways. Chronic spills of fuel and chemicals are detrimental to marine life and vegetation. This has a knock-on effect on our local biodiversity. The accidents off Gibraltar’s coastline over the years have starkly demonstrated the lingering impacts of oil pollution on the marine environment which must be avoided at all costs. The severe impacts from dragging anchors on the seabed and reefs are highly damaging and must be minimised not increased. Any significant increase in shipping activity will also automatically increase the risk of a serious accident with the long-term consequences this would have on the natural environment.

    3. Quality of life is also a hugely important factor when objecting to east side bunkering activity. Bunkering is also associated with regular impacts such as fumes, noise pollution and general environmental degradation. The East coast being what it is means that the introduction of such industrialised activity would threaten a major recreational and bathing area for a large part of our community. West coast bunkering continues to carry all these impacts which are exacerbated in certain wind directions. If bunkering were to proceed on the east side we would not only be creating a problem on the east but increasing problems to west flank communities who would now receive fumes no matter the wind direction.

    4. In the course of any analysis conducted on the possible bunkering expansion, a number of mitigation measures would need to be considered. “Vapour Recovery Technology” (VRT) is such a measure that, if applied, could eliminate some of the fumes entering our common airspace when servicing vessels. The long awaited “Vessel Tracking Technology” (VTS), introduced long after the boom in bunkering business should now play its role in safely policing shipping movements within and adjacent to the Bay area and not be used to pave the way for further shipping activity. Increased monitoring should also involve close liaison with regional port authorities which needs to be actively pursued. Mitigation could also be applied by introducing fixed anchorage points to limit the destructive impacts of lowering anchors onto fresh areas of seabed and ensuing dragging. It’s clear that response time to any future marine accident on the east side would throw up problems of time, distance and weather conditions. Any spills would be impossible to contain in open waters and absence of adequate response equipment locally for a major incident would result in disastrous long term impacts to the natural environment, residents and the tourism trade.

    5. Hotel owners in the area are totally opposed to such bunkering activity due to the degradation of the environment this will bring and how this will affect their business as well as jeopardise any future tourism development in Gibraltar. The special environment which exists on the east side of the Rock deserves sensitive development and management given it provides a much needed haven in an otherwise densely populated and busy urban environment that Gibraltar is today. Developing the east side with these points in mind would bring long term, sustainable benefits to both the local community, the tourism industry and to the environment.

    In conclusion the groups reiterate that the social marginal utility gained from the increase in commerce is clearly outweighed by the social marginal disutility brought on by the environmental risk exposure. At what social and environmental cost will this relatively small % increase in GDP be enjoyed?
    £ is not the scarce resource – our waters, marine life, coastline and quality of life are.

    The groups call upon all political parties, including the present Government, to publish their policy on bunkering expansion to the East Side of Gibraltar. This massively important social and environmental issue represents a critical time for balancing industrialisation in Gibraltar with preserving our quality of life and natural environment and as such deserves full transparency by all political parties ahead of the next general election.

    Please visit the ESG and GONHS website where full statements by all stakeholders will soon be posted

    CUTW Article in Insight August Edition

    Click on following link and go to pages 25 and 26 for an interview with Janet Howitt on the progress made under the Clean up the World Campaign.


    CUTW kicks off in Gibraltar 2011


    This week saw the first CUTW planning session take place at the John Mackintosh Hall. The meeting was well attended and helped establish fresh commitment to support this inspiring Global Campaign.
    The theme for this year’s Campaign is: “Our Planet, our Place, Our Responsibility”. Last night ESG organisers delivered a presentation to team leaders outlining how their responsible actions over the years have helped transform several hotspots around Gibraltar.

    In 2011 we participate for the 7th year running and sees a growing Government commitment to address widespread littered areas, or hotspots, by increasing investment and resources. This has resulted in many of our usual areas to be in a better state than in previous years and so our focus will shift slightly to tackle new areas and different projects. Our volunteers will be checking out old and new sites over the next few weeks as plans firm up for the 17th September day of action.

    The ESG is delighted to confirm that over 25 teams are already in place with more pending confirmation. A second planning meeting will be announced shortly in the press and all team leaders will be notified directly.

    The ESG would like to thank all those whose support for the CUTW Campaign has made this a remarkable medium for environmental progress on the Rock. A joint poster campaign with the ESG and the Ministry of the Environment will soon see colourful posters displayed around Gibraltar. The posters promote the positive aims and achievements of this annual campaign supported locally by a large number of volunteers from a cross section of our community. Please contact the ESG for posters.

    The campaign will also look at ongoing local issues and need for better facilities and enforcement. These are listed below:

    Under Prevention: Litter Wardens, Fines and Enforcement/Litter Committee/Improved Facilities such as an Eco Park to centralise waste facility for all types of household waste/Facilities at the City Dump for holding paper and cardboard/Netting Enclosure at dump to stop wind dispersal
    Under Promotion: For Govt Depts. and schools to set up new protocols so everyone uses recycling bins/For clubs, bars, restaurants made to recycle waste/Introduce positive signage to promote benefits to community of a clean and healthy environment

    Please email us at: esg@gibtelecom.net or call us on 200-48996 (between 9.30am to 1.30pm or 54960000 outside these hours) to register your help as a team or individual, everyone is welcome.

    Radio Broadcast 4th August 2011

    Contents: Air pollution, Power Stations Delay, CUTW Planning, Sewage at Sea

    ESG radio broadcast Thursday 4th August 2011

    The ESG continues to be concerned about the intolerable levels of air pollution affecting several neighbourhoods in Gibraltar. The situation is getting from bad to worse with no reaction from Government to our pleas for public updates on an issue of huge public interest.

    Our culture is changing, people are thinking more about their health and fitness yet running, cycling or even walking in Gibraltar in certain areas could seriously threaten your health! For residents affected principally by the large polluting power stations this isn’t even the issue- simply being able to open your windows and relax in your own home would be a massive improvement.

    A year ago the European Commission threatened legal action against the UK due to Gibraltar and a UK city failing to meet safe levels of pollution. This referred to nitrogen dioxide as well as rising levels of particulate matter. These pollutants are controlled because of the severity of impact on people’s health. We ask where are we now regarding this environmental problem.

    Instead of acting on solutions to reduce his historic, harmful pollution we find ourselves with additional generating capacity increasing localised pollution, and no visible signs that the new power station project is getting off the ground…. It does call for action and focus on this issue which affects every man, woman and child and which has a local solution.

    Let’s hope that 2011 will see renewed vigour, energy and sense of purpose from the driving seat in Govt to get to grips with these issues. We are fed up of calling for action and we want change now!

    On other news, we are very pleased to report that CUTW is receiving strong support from our usual group of volunteers and have been able to add quite a few new teams to our ranks! This is great news and we look forward to our first planning session in earnest next Tuesday 9th August at 7pm. This is being held at the John Mackintosh hall, Charles Hunt Room. You are welcome to come along to the meeting where we shall hold a short presentation on the CUTW Campaign in general and the achievements attained over the years – We shall discuss the glaring issues which continue to cause problems and degradation in our environment, and will share ideas for long term solutions and actions. The really inspiring side to this campaign is that it brings together people from all walks of life who are keen to give practical help to make our homeland cleaner, greener and smarter all round. If you think you can help us achieve these aims then please come along to the meeting and register for the

      17th September CUTW day of action.

    Don’t worry if you can’t make the 9th as there will be at least one more major meeting before the clean up. You can also register by emailing us on esg@gibtelecom.net and we shall get in touch with you.

    A final word on sewage in our waters, as we continue to receive calls from concerned citizens who are worried about using our beaches due to possible sewage contamination. We are assured once again by the Env Agency that east side beaches are being sampled at least twice weekly but that we can expect to see the increase in data posted on the EA website as from Monday. It is important that people check the site as we are experiencing higher levels of pollution at most of our beaches than has ever been recorded. Checking the site will enable people to decide where to go and cool off on these excruciatingly hot days. Visit the site at environmental-agency.gi for further details.

    We shall be issuing press releases this week on other environmental issues of interest so why not check our website at esg-gib.net for info, call us on 200-48996 or 54960000 and we shall be very pleased to hear from you.
    Thanks for listening


    ESG Press Release August 4th 2011


    The ESG wishes to add its voice to the many in our community who are expressing concern over the increase in pollution experienced both in the air we are breathing and the waters we are bathing in.
    It’s clear that while Gibraltar does undergo many improvements and facelifts in various areas around the Rock the day to day filth and grime, dog waste, air pollution as well as sewage in the seas continue to mar a place we should all be proud of.

    Many people continue to complain about dog urine and faeces, about sewage levels in our seas, and about the abhorrent levels of air pollution prevalent in several hotspots around Gibraltar. The ESG believe there are solutions to these problems and these require attention and action from the authorities.

    We hear people say they no longer feel able to complain because they feel nothing will change. The ESG disagrees most strongly with this and believes we should strive to be that shining example and make every effort to achieve positive change. Some of the changes also have to come from the public, but investment/facilities/direction and enforcement are the responsibility of the authorities and requires political will to see these through.

    Indeed as well as the authorities all our local politicians are ultimately responsible either from inaction while in positions of responsibility or inaction in holding the administration to account as is their duty if they feel things could be done differently. All our local politicians must move on from being partisan and confrontational to being facilitators and leaders at least with regards to the environment and quality of life which knows nothing of political associations and is shared by all.
    Let’s get our basics right and provide a healthy environment in which to raise our families.


    ESG Press Release August 4th 2011


    The ESG has been following the issue of sea pollution for some time now concerned about sewage and other forms of marine pollution. Since late 2010, the issue of sewage pollution mainly originating from Spain has given serious concern to both the public and the authorities and this has highlighted major difficulties of sewage management issues in our neighbouring La Linea town. Much has been published on this matter and the Gibraltar Government has taken various measures to increase monitoring and provide more information to the public. The ESG continues to receive calls from concerned citizens about the safety of bathing off our beaches. Due to the worsening of sewage issues in La Linea the real risk to our beaches continues and so we do advise people to remain vigilant. The Env Agency website carries some data but the ESG is assured that this will be increased soon to provide more accurate information to enable the public to make a choice over where they will swim.

    A further bit of information which should be of interest to the public is the publication of “beach profiles” on all our beaches which can be found at the Dept of Environment website (see below for links) which gives a detailed profile on the physical properties of every local beach as well as facilities and pollution risks. It surprises the ESG that this information is not found on the Environmental Agency website where most people are directed to visit for information on bathing water quality but nevertheless is impressed with the quality of the information provided. The group believes this will interest many and urge the public to visit links below.