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  • ESG Radio Broadcast 29/05/14

    ESG Radio Newsletter – 29th May 2014

    Key Words: DPC, Mobile Masts, Victoria Stadium, Europort Road, Sullage Treatment, South District Pollution, Solar Freakin’ Highways and Clean up the World

    – Yesterdays’ DPC meeting touched on a number of issues we are working on at present, and so is a good way to start our newsletter today.  Once again mobile phone masts appeared on the agenda though these were the subject of deferment based on the need for their relocation. Our group intends to develop our own public awareness programme and will be launching this soon. We remind members and listeners concerned or interested in masts and related technology, to visit our facebook page dedicated to this issue where you can comment and send questions etc. It’s at Mobile Phone Mast Concern Gibraltar. You can read various articles and see videos posted produced by a number of respected experts in this field. We should like to make clear that we are not opposed to the mobile phone itself; simply to inform ourselves of personal use health factors and raise the issue of regulation of the supporting networks to be of the highest standards possible, and as already being followed by a growing number of countries.


    – The ESG raised questions on the Victoria Stadium agenda item – this described an extension to the main stand to accommodate UEFA upgrade requirements and was presented as a GOG project.  We called for clarification as to whether this was for the purposes of acquiring a full blown Category 3 stadium at Victoria, and therefore part of an ongoing process – The project before the DPC yesterday only included changes to accommodate VIPs, media, medical unit, etc. Additional seating, also required to meet UEFA rules, was not being discussed here.  The ESG was told the DPC could only assess this upgrade on planning terms and that further information should be sought from Government itself. We are now following this up.


    – The previously contentious development at Europort Road, that drew much public protest a few years back, when the application was for a multi-story data centre, has come up again, but this time as a five story office block that will have a much smaller impact on the surrounding area. Nevertheless there were objections strongly expressed at the meeting by affected residents and a decision is deferred subject to site visits etc.


    – Following the Sullage treatment story we are confident that Nature Group will not be able to secure permission in future for treatment of waste at its site, as the company confidently announced publicly to a stock exchange in London, for the benefit of its shareholders. For full details on this matter so far, please visit our website: esg-gib.net, and click on news.


    – The ESG has held a meeting with the Minister for the Environment where we raised the issue of south district air pollution. We are told that it should only be a matter of a few more weeks before the temporary generators are fully optimised to allow full or partial closure of the aging stations at Rosia Road, thereby improving air quality in the south once again.


    There are so many fascinating items of environmental interest available via the Internet and on social media. One such example which demonstrates the ingenuity of our species and how indeed, one day, we could solve our energy and pollution problems was presented to us just the other day –its about “Solar Freakin’ Highways’!! Please – Check it out. Passive solar collection using existing infrastructure with very clever simple technology – perhaps a great project for Gibraltar to embark on and showcase to the rest of the world!! We have had quite a lot of feedback on this one – please send us your thoughts – could this be the system to transform modern cities and finally remove the pervading pollution we consider synonymous with progress?? We urge our own Government to look at this system very carefully. Just google Solar Freakin Highways..


    Volunteer teams for Clean up the World are invited to now please sign up. Best to email esg@gibtelecom.net with contact name and details, team size and general fitness. We shall respond to you quickly advising the next steps. Individuals are also welcome to volunteer. The key date is the 20th September, which is a Saturday, although there are plans this year to hold a CUTW week as from the 17th September that will incorporate a full, varied programme and hopefully attract public interest.  More details soon.     Thanks for listening…

    ESG on Nature Group – Storage or Treatment? 19/05/14


    ESG Press Release  – 19th May 2014

    Nature Group –  Storage or Treatment?



    The ESG would like to express its surprise at the news published in the media recently, that Nature Group intends to gain permission to resume treatment at its Sullage Plant site at the Western Arm.


    The ESG sits on the Development and Planning Commission, where, only three weeks ago, and after lengthy discussions, the said company was able to get its application through only on the strictest assurance that this would be for storage purposes only.


    The Minister for the Environment abstained, the ESG objected and the Department of the Environment made plain its advice that approval should be strictly for storage purposes only. The Town Planner recommended approval to storage only among a number of other conditions.


    The ESG considers the public statement made by Nature Group chairman, challenges the mandate given to the company by the DPC. The categorical assurances given by all company representatives at the DPC meeting made it clear it would not be treating waste at their rebuilt site. The fact is that had Nature Group been clear of its intention to resume treatment onsite in future, it would not have received approval.


    The ESG asks what are the implications, if any, for the permission obtained by Nature given its very public statement to suggest its real plans for the future.


    The ESG notes that Nature continues to serve its own interests by also calling in claims from the Gibraltar Government for recent works. However, the ESG would like to issue a reminder that a local court case over culpability on the explosion at its site on Western Arm remains unresolved, as is, compensation to the family who tragically lost a young father working at this site.













    (article referred to front page in the Gibraltar Chronicle  as per extract attached)



    1. Extract from Chronicle article dated 9th May 2014 – of Nature at work at London’s AIM stock exchange




    Nature Group has reached an insurance settlement of £1.35m for material damage and business interruption caused by the explosion at its North Mole storage facility in May 2011.

The claim had been initially knocked back by the underwriters but was finally settled after extensive negotiations.

    The figure was detailed in a 2013 results statement to the London AIM stock exchange yesterday, in which the company also pointed toward long-term plans to seek agreement to renew treatment operations once its terminal is rebuilt.

Nature received planning permission to rebuild the site last April, but the approval was for storage only. “Our recommendation [to the Development and Planning Commission] to establish a Liaison Committee to monitor our activities is likely to be adopted and we anticipate an early agenda item will be to seek agreement to initiate treatment, after the storage area of the plant has been rebuilt and commissioned which is anticipated to take 12 months,” said Nature Group chairman Nigel Sandy in a statement.

Kieron Becerra, Nature’s locally-based chief financial officer, told the Chronicle the company had worked to establish a positive rapport with the Gibraltar Government following the explosion.

He said the aim was to ensure officials and the community understood Nature’s business – the group’s facilities collect and recycle oily ship waste, a requirement for all EU ports under international law – and were reassured about its safety standards.”


    (NB. ESG highlight and underline)


    ESG Radio Broadcast 15/05/14

    ESG Radio Newsletter 15/5/14 – In today’s newsletter we would like to reflect on a number of environmental issues, which have occupied our team in recent times.

    Key Terms:  WHO report findings, Epidemiological studies, Fuel of choice (Gas and Diesel), Accidents, Mobile Phone Masts

    This week we were interviewed on a press release we issued over the WHO report findings, which highlight La Linea as having the worst air quality in the whole of Spain. Clearly this is a matter of concern with this town being the closest to Gibraltar. The ESG has invested much of its time and energies over the years towards seeking action from the European Commission to tackle the gross levels of pollution produced by the giant chemical plants in San Roque and Los Barrios, with the CEPSA Oil Refinery industry especially in mind. There have been a number of authoritative reports published from the health sector in Spain citing concerns over the abnormally high levels of mortality and disease in the Bay’s localities, ranging from La Linea through to Algeciras.

    Such reports have led our group in recent years to lobby at EC level with likeminded NGOs from both sides of the border, to address breaches of compliance of environmental regulations by chemical industries in the area and to insist upon rigorous, transparent, cross border epidemiological studies. While our MEPs strive for our votes next week, and in spite of the efforts made by a specific few, the ESG must voice its frustration with a system that sets out such detailed environmental legislation, which is poorly policed in practice.


    On the local front we consider the WHO report highlights the need for additional, real-time monitoring to be set up in the north western zone of Gibraltar to properly measure the levels of pollution from the numerous local and cross border sources. You can find our full press statement on this issue on our website: esg-gib.net.


    There has been some debate in the local media by Government and the opposition over the fuel of choice and location for the new power station for Gibraltar. The ESG had supported the previous plans for Lathbury at the time, because, and in spite of the impact on our landscape which we also value, the ongoing impact on the health and quality of life on thousands of Gibraltarians was at stake and Lathbury afforded respite to peoples suffering – indeed the EIA at the time confirmed a drop of over 90% of harmful pollutants would be immediately achieved with the decommissioning of all three power stations. The same EIA expressed ‘safety and reliability of supply’ issues to exclude natural liquid gas for Gibraltar. Our group has had opportunity to discuss this at several mtgs with Govt but we have not yet seen any details of assessments made to have altered the ‘diesel only option’ to that of diesel and natural liquid gas. In light of the recent accident at one of our power plants and ongoing debate among political parties on grounds of safety and location, we hope that Government will release technical studies on the matter as soon as possible and allow facts and transparency to form the real debate. We also hope that the new temporary turbines will allow early closure of the stations at Rosia Road, which are once again producing very high levels of pollution in the south district.


    Finally, an issue, which has been on our agenda since the last DPC mtg, is that of Mobile Phone Masts. Several concerned citizens have contacted us after learning, many for the first time, of news that masts are going up in their neighbourhood. At the DPC mtg the ESG highlighted this lack of adequate public consultation and our own misgivings over the present approach to the installation of masts throughout Gibraltar. We have had discussions with Government and Gibtelecom as a key operator over the past few years. There is now a Govt Mast Policy, which addresses some of our concerns, but we believe there is much more to be done and we are deliberating our next steps as we seek to raise further awareness in the community on issues of best practice, the precautionary principle and in the wise use of electronic equipment today. The ESG runs a separate Facebook page with information on this issue and where you can send in any questions or comments. You can find this at:  Mobile Phone Mast Concern Gibraltar. Thanks for listening.

    La Linea highest pollution levels claims the WHO 09/05/14

     La Linea Pollution and WHO Report

    Key terms:-   Pollution, Industry, Health reports, Gib  Monitoring, Environmental Agency

    “The ESG wishes to react to the WHO report claiming La Linea has the worst air quality in all of Spain. The industrial base located in the centre of the Bay has been producing lethal levels of toxic emissions for over forty years so it can be no surprise that background levels of air quality in La Linea are extremely poor. The ESG has campaigned at EC level for many years against the harmful emissions from the petrochemical industry precisely because of the heavy impact these can have on health and on the living environment. A number of the large industries located in the Bay have enjoyed protection from complying with modern environmental legislation due to a legal loophole known as the Grandfather Clause. However, this is now over but it is clear that pollution levels continue to be very high.


    In the meantime there have been a growing number of reports produced by Spanish Health authorities and Universities confirming the strong links between health and mortality, and chronic, chemical pollution exposure. While there have been some improvements in the pollution levels from the refinery and other plants, these dirty, chemical giants will always produce harmful emissions especially when allowed to operate past their sell by date. One asks if the World Health Organisation report will achieve any change in the status quo and long-term inaction?


    The report also raises important questions for Gibraltar:-


    If La Linea is registering such dire levels, should we not explore our own air quality near the border area? We presently have real-time monitors in Rosia Road, Witham’s’ and at Bleak House. The ESG has called for an additional real-time monitor to be placed in the northwestern region of Gibraltar given the increase in the residential spread and growth of industry. It also happens to be the closest zone to both La Linea and to the Oil Refinery and associated industry in San Roque.


    The ESG also hopes the Gibraltar Air Quality website (gibraltarairquality.gi) will soon provide real-time information on PM 2.5’s and additional information on PM 10’s produced from power station emissions and traffic fumes, given the impact these are known to have on our health. “


    Report from Environmental Agency – GIB LEVELS ‘NOT MAJOR PROBLEM’

    Air quality in Gibraltar is not considered a “massive problem” with levels of pollution being within “normal ranges”, said the Environmental Agency.

    However, the main issue we do have relates to emissions from the generating stations, something that will reduce considerably when the new generating stations are fired up. 

The Environmental Agency has various monitoring stations around Gibraltar, which perform continuous sampling of the air, and passive readings are performed once a month. These readings are sent to the UK for analysis.)