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  • ESG Radio Newsletter 18th December 2014


    This will be our last 2014 broadcast…can’t quite believe another year has shot past…definitely encourages one to be philosophical and take stock of where we are.


    The ESG has campaigned through the year on our objectives for a healthy and clean environment and looks ahead to 2015 determined to stay the course. Naturally anyone looking at our wish list can see that quite a few of our key goals are being met, even if in the process of, but this is positive and to be welcomed. Our role is to ensure that announcements are followed up with action and completion and so we shall continue to monitor the big issues that concern us such as Cross border pollution, Power Station and energy source, bunkering, waste oil management, transport and traffic, EMF – the invisible pollution, waste water treatment plant, renewable energy, use of Best Available Technology and Gibraltar’s meaningful action on Climate Change. After ten years of clean up we shall also be considering new ideas for this strong community campaign for 2015- watch this space!!


    We shall also be reviewing the last Environmental Action and Management Plan issued under the present administration as there are delays in the implementation of a number of highly impacting activity which affects our quality of life and influences our performance on greenhouse gas emissions and therefore on Climate Change. The Transport Plan that will aim to modify vehicular use and promote alternative and clean mobility is yet to be published in spite of a number of public promises.


    Nevertheless, the recent awarding of major contracts on the new Power Station and on the Sewage Plant is a clear sign of Government commitment – these will provide radical change in removing pollutants from our skies and seas and cannot come about too soon.


    While Govts, civil servants and businesses have important roles to play on environmental issues, we, as individuals and families, could also look to 2015 to see how we can improve our own carbon footprint, wastefulness and habits. Perhaps a pledge at New Years to ramp up our recycling, we don’t need special containers to do this – to use less packaging at the stores, take our own bags, check labels for the most environmentally friendly option, and use energy friendly bulbs, could help improve Gibraltar’s performance too!


    With the recent report published by the GHA advocating prevention rather than cure as the way forward for our community, what better than choosing to walk or part walk and bus your journeys whenever you can?


    As the great work done by Nazareth House and the GBC Open Day this week demonstrates, our community is relatively affluent and generous in supporting those in need and work done by charities and NGOs. This affluence should also give us breathing space to consider our actions and make the green choice.


    Have a great and peaceful Christmas and we would like to thank the community for its continued support of our work and objectives.

    Radio Newsletter 041214

    ESG Radio Newsletter 4th December 2014


    In a week that we learn that the world is on course for the hottest year ever in 2014, summits such as the one currently underway in Lima have gained a deepening sense of urgency around climate change negotiations.  The difficulty is that unless we make fundamental changes in the way we run our societies, the solutions are unlikely to come from such meetings.

    Politicians need to protect jobs and growth, regardless – corporations widely believed to be the real decision makers are driven by profit, but not just from greed; also on the need to satisfy investment from shareholders.


    One fears that the scale of the changes demanded to address climate change is so massive, that we shall need to hit a wall before rebuilding our communities on sustainable values, and sustainable industry. However, there are global campaigns out there offering new ideas on how we can make meaningful change, especially in the energy sector. One such campaign that caught our eye recently is called Fossil Free started by the 350 campaign.  The call is for divestment away from fossil fuel companies and this is attracting hundreds of churches, universities, pension funds, states and city councils around the world that have made the commitment to go fossil free.


    So maybe, just maybe, there are practical steps we can take ourselves, within our modern society today, to push investment away from fossil fuels and towards renewables, and press governments also to realise that the time for continued subsidy and support for the fossil fuel industry is fast running out. Check out gofossilfree.org for news and updates of this campaign that will see a global day celebrated in February 2015.


    Back to Gibraltar: 


    Locally there are a few issues we would like to draw attention to:

    The Oil Refinery in Spain has been polluting quite heavily recently during daylight hours and we are concerned that this pattern, largely absent during daytime in recent years, could once again become the norm, which is totally unacceptable. The ESG is taking this up with our MEPs and the European Commission. A new fuel farm planned for the Guadaranque area prompted a protest by Spanish environmental groups and families last weekend. They have had enough of toxic industry in their back yard and hope to stop the farm from going up. Wish them luck with that one.

    In Gibraltar we appear to be gripped in a planning explosion where so many decisions and plans are going forward almost simultaneously for construction of large developments. Gibraltar is being transformed once again at a very fast pace and this is something that we, at the ESG, feel very uncomfortable with given the obvious impact this will have on our overall quality of life.


    It is difficult to appreciate the value of any one project when the accumulated impact from building sites, noise and heavy construction traffic becomes part of our day-to-day lives. We are also concerned about the long-term impacts such dense development will have on our community. Gibraltar needs a holistic plan supported and clearly understood by the community, which then needs to be implemented by an independent DPC that can assess ALL applications on their individual merit.


    We urge Government to release the long promised revised Town Planning Act for public feedback and comment. This is where, we have been told, we can make real changes in the planning process. So please lets have this out without further delay. Another publication avidly awaited is the Traffic and Transport Plan.


    Finally we, at the ESG, together with Petitioner for beach users, Karen Everett, feel totally vindicated over the news that Spain has finally admitted to the European Commission that it has caused sewage pollution at Western Beach, including during the bathing season. We ask, what next? Only a month ago the petitions committee replied to campaigners that they still awaited clarification from Spain, then Gibraltar etc. before taking any further action.  Now this admission has been made officially we expect urgent steps taken by Spain to divert the raw sewage away from Western Beach and is managed by a suitable collecting system that will eliminate this 4 year long disgraceful pollution in this area. We shall of course, be following up on the official complaint we lodged with the European Commission a few years back.



    Thanks for listening!