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    ESG Press Release
    HMS Ambush
    Monday 25th May 2015

    The ESG has received a number of reports from concerned members of the public regarding statements in the Spanish media about problems with the nuclear submarine, HMS Ambush, berthed in Gibraltar.

    According to the Captain of the Port, in a statement made to Mariners via the port website, there has been a 200m exclusion zone around the submarine over the weekend due to the movement of dangerous materials as well as the closure of the southern port entrance.

    The ESG would like to know exactly what these dangerous materials are.

    Significant concerns have been raised across the border as the Spanish press has extrapolated from the Captain’s statement that this could relate to radioactive materials.
    It has also raised some concerns here among our own community, as there has been no news on this at all provided via the local media.

    The ESG calls upon Government to verify precisely what has happened at the port.

    It must be noted that a large LNG Carrier has also been anchoring a few hundred metres from the nuclear submarine adding further to the groups concerns.

    The ESG will be taking up these issues in a meeting it will be having with Government soon.

    Radio Newsletter 210515

    ESG Radio Newsletter

    Good day! In our last newsletter we stated that the UK elections were very clearly avoiding environmental issues, and focusing almost exclusively on the economy and National Health matters. The Green Party was obviously raising issues of longterm sustainability and climate change, but even they had to portray this through a traditional political platform or prism.

    We were heartened therefore to hear discussions in our own “local House of Parliament” yesterday spending a few hours on local and regional environmental issues, at an informed level. This is important and welcomed by our group.

    As an NGO we continue to report problems, lobby on key issues and raise awareness as much as we can.

    With the summer almost upon us, here in Gibraltar, we become more sensitive to the environment we live in and the warmer weather worsens existing pollution problems which tend to hang around as well as become more acute in higher temperatures. This week we have rec’d reports via facebook as well as phone calls and emails from different corners of the Rock signalling that, while politicians, are at last talking about these issues together, on both sides of the house, action is still required to eliminate the known sources of pollution.

    For example, the Dockyard has been incredibly busy these past few weeks with vessels lined up, but what has been an additional problem is that ships at quayside or in dry dock have had and continue to have their engines running. These smoky emissions are harmful to our health and similar to what is produced by power stations, burning, as they do, the same type of fuel. Ships obviously have to power their way in and out of the harbour but surely they must be ordered to switch off their engines and connect to the local electric grid when stationary?

    We know the authorities are trying to deal with this problem but we shall continue to monitor and report this, as the situation is ongoing.

    Talking about Western Beach– number of points here. Very pleased that the European Commission is publicly and formally acknowledging La Linea dumping sewage right into our coastline – but action is needed. Politics as usual is in the way of speedy solutions, but how much longer do we have to wait before something is done about this? Perhaps now the acknowledgment has been made, legal action is a real option for Gibraltar to force Spain, via the EU, to spend the money and make the infrastructural changes necessary. If you look at the environmental agency website you will see that a moderate but steady amount of sewage continues to appear at this beach. Also that data is at best 48 hours old, or 4 days old over weekends, meaning that should there be a spike at the time you are swimming, you will not know about it.

    Check out other beaches water quality and make up your own mind. This is at environmentalagency.gi.

    Interesting and welcome to hear senior political figures in Spain, from Podemos, concerned about Bay pollution. While not mentioning industrial pollution the shipping activity mentioned occurs from all major ports surrounding the Strait, which are clearly contributing towards a blanket of pollution in the area. This is a big problem, which must be acknowledged, …but can it be addressed?? We shall be issuing a separate press release on this soon.

    Only this morning the Algeciras authorities are raising concerns with their Port about the heavy fumes affecting their town and community. Clearly port activity and economy is important to all communities in this region but health and safety of people and the environment is as important and one should not grow at the expense of the other.

    Finally, yesterday’s DPC carried a number of interesting items. Some have been briefly commented in the main media but not all and we shall be writing further comments on this on our website which you can find at: esg-gib.net

    Please get in touch if you want to become a member, make any enquiries or need information. We are grateful for donations and support for our work that is done entirely by volunteers. Our email is: esg@gibtelecom.net tel: 200-48996 or mobile 54960000. Thanks for listening!

    ESG Radio Newsletter 7th May 2015

    Radio Broadcast – Key words: elections, air pollution, LNG, bunkering, DPC

    With UK elections looming – much focus is being given to issues like the NHS and Immigration, cost of living and cutbacks – Important though these obviously are, it is quite worrying how the environment, pollution and climate change are hardly being given a mention.

    Increasingly however, one reads more and more medical reports linking health problems to air pollution, with an article in today’s Guardian claiming it to be more costly to the NHS, around 15bn pounds per year, than obesity and alcoholism combined, and yet this is not seemingly addressed, with the UK failing to meet EU standards on air quality.

    In Gibraltar, we too are failing to meet air quality standards on a number of pollutants, which will be having a bearing on our community. Two key factors affecting air quality locally is power generation and traffic. On the first we can see some movement as preparations move forward at the North Mole. However, there is no completion date in sight – indeed there are a number of technical challenges facing Govt, which are being addressed, but on this count, we are still some years off from removing the present polluting load from the existing power stations and generators. The ESG is holding a series of meetings with technical experts involved in the new generating station to share our concerns and ideas. The LNG question remains pending and this will also be influencing progress. The Traffic Implementation Plan has not yet seen the light of day even though measures are popping up here and there. Clearly major steps need to be taken to reduce the negative impacts from traffic significantly.

    Another issue growing at present is that of bunkering fumes. We have received a number of reports from the Waterport Terraces area and have directed people to contact the relevant authorities. ESG Committee members only this week took a boat ride in the harbour and experienced very strong smells in the vicinity of the mother vessel berthed at the detached mole. We shall be following this up directly with all relevant authorities, as it is really important to safeguard our quality of life as well as our health. With summer upon us such fumes are exacerbated and people need to keep their windows open at home.

    The ESG hopes that informed and factual debate will form the basis for discussions during Gibraltar’s elections and that the environment will feature highly. We hope to see NGO’s holding such public discussions so that the community can also hear what the issues are and potential solutions, and not only whose fault it is in the past or present: The present heritage debate on the upper town, being a case in point.

    On other matters last months Planning meeting was an interesting one with May’s proving to be equally so. The date for the next meeting is set for 20th May at 9.30am. Its possible that Marina Bay apartments and super yacht application will feature as well as other significant projects. Please note that agendas are posted online at the DPC website a week beforehand, and most importantly if you are lodging an objection, and wish to address the Commission, that you must do this in writing and as soon as possible.

    If you would like further information about the ESG and what we do, please contact us via email: esg@gibtelecom.net , visit our website at: esg-gib.net or call 200-48996.