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  • ESG interviewed on EIA for Power Station Friday 14/08/15

    ESG’s Tom Scott on local Television and Radio giving interviews on the groups position on the EIA for the New Power Station

    GBC Link http://www.gbc.gi/tv/programmes/newswatch-7 starts 6.42 mins

    Radio Gibraltar Link http://www.gbc.gi/radio/programmes/lunchtime-james-neish-26 starts 10.29 mins

    ESG will be meeting with GoG technical team next week to review issues and work to arrive at the best possible outcome.

    ESG calls for change to release of balloons on National Day 14/08/15

    ESG Press Release
    National Day Balloons
    14th August 2015

    The ESG adds its voice to the GONHS on National Day balloons and also calls upon Government and National Day organisers to find an alternative to the release of thousands of pieces of litter as a major and symbolic part of the day’s celebrations. With its CUTW hat on the group urges Gibraltar to stop a practice, which is contributing to an already serious threat facing wildlife, particularly in the world’s oceans, from litter and pollution.

    Each year the group has met with Government and raised the matter discussing alternatives, which could and should replace this unnecessarily harmful practice. Gibraltar’s “island” nature means the majority of our released balloons quickly find their way to open water and out of sight with the on-going impact on the environment continuing long after they have gone.

    National Day is a very important day in Gibraltar’s calendar and should not be marred by this simply because it is what has happened since celebrations began. The ESG agrees with the GONHS statement that growing awareness and evidence-based knowledge of the actual impact on wildlife from such balloon releases should persuade many in the community that a non-environmentally harmful alternative should be in place and found quickly.

    The ESG urges the public to support a change in this practice.

    See: http://balloonsblow.org
    www.rspca.org.uk Don’t Let Go Campaign

    ESG Statement on EIA for new Power Station 13/08/15

    The ESG has been looking through the sizeable document for the EIA on the new Power Station. It is still studying aspects of it that are not entirely clear. Having said that, the ESG can highlight some basic principles and reactions, which shall be followed up in a detailed paper submitted to the Town Planning Offices for DPC consideration. The GoG’s stated intention is to build a hybrid plant using LNG and diesel. However the EIA does not include LNG safety reports or impacts from wider diesel use, which in the groups view renders the assessment deficient if not invalid.

    • The ESG questions why the EIA is only considering impacts from the combustion of diesel for a maximum of 35 days for “abnormal operation”, due to this being an LNG fired plant; this is built on the assumption that LNG has been given the green light in which case the safety reports supporting this decision must exist- and must be shared with the public; we also believe that impacts from the possible combustion of diesel at this plant for 365 days of the year should be factored in the EIA to cover all scenarios;
    • The safety issues of LNG driving this entire project forward must therefore be considered by DPC members who will then be voting on passing this EIA paper for certification;
    • Specifically the ESG has called for highest standards and best available technology to be utilised in this power station but the ESG does not consider the plans demonstrate this has been done adequately to date;
    • Specifically electrostatic precipitators ought to be used to eliminate up to 99% of particulates/and stack monitoring to track all pollutants and manage levels accordingly;
    • Stack heights have been compromised by the proximity to the airport and therefore additional measures to eliminate all potential emissions must be installed;
    • The ESG has been concerned to see that GoG’s plan has been to build the power station even closer to the Waterport Terraces Residential area since the first announcement by GoG of siting this at the North Mole;
    • The ESG finds unacceptable that the main LNG Storage and Regasification Process has been also added to this site without documentation being submitted to the public or the DPC members, nor has this major cumulative factor being included in this present EIA, despite all other potential factors being rigorously included;

    Government has stated all along that it has been taking its time to ensure that the next generation power station will be the most environmental and least impacting of all its predecessors and that planned by the GSD administration. The ESG is not convinced that the plans and EIA measure up to this pledge and will be submitting a detailed response to the DPC stating precisely in what areas it is in disagreement. It will be highlighting the essential measures the group will insist should be conditional to the EIA receiving approval for the power station aspect of this operation so far.

    Regarding the LNG Storage and regasification process, the group cannot accept that at the present site it has now become safer and furthest from residential areas. However, if the CM who made this statement in Parliament, has the documentation to support his claims let Government please share these documents, at least to the DPC, who are currently evaluating the EIA for the new power station and would consider these directly relevant to the safety evaluation of the EIA report.

    ESG welcomes New Bathing Water Standards 9th August 2015

    ESG Press Release
    re new Bathing Water Quality standards in force
    9th August 2015

    The ESG would like to bring to the public’s attention the fact that bathing water monitoring has now entered a new phase in Europe, and is now also enforced in Gibraltar. Under Directive 2006/7/EC designated bathing waters now need to comply with new standards that are twice as strict as they were prior to 2015.

    From the 17th July 2015 the Environmental Agency website displays a new format showing the monitoring regime and levels which are now in place. These are very different to the previous system and some explanation should be provided to the public: to explain how these will work in practice, this summer, and when determining whether a beach is safe to swim in or not.

    The ESG regards these improvements as positive and hopes that all measures advocated under the Directive will soon follow. The Directive states that “information of a bathing site’s quality classification, the results of water quality monitoring, the site’s management measures and other relevant information is to be made readily available to the public, both through displays at the site and through the media and internet”. The changes advise that a new management scheme for each beach will be produced at the end of the 2015 bathing season.

    There have been concerns that once the tighter legislation was in place, Western Beach could be closed to bathers. The only alternative to this would be for Brussels to ensure that EU Directives are implemented by Spain. The ESG would like to see another big push in Brussels by the Gibraltar authorities to rescue what is a highly popular family beach.

    The group is continuing its work on this important social and environmental matter with its legal advisers and in Brussels too. It will report with more updates on this soon.

    For more info on new Bathing Water Standards please visit Environmental Agency.gi.

    Environmental Agency Information on New Bathing Water Standards:-

    A new Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) was adopted on the 15th February 2006 and was transposed into Gibraltar law by the Environment (Quality of Bathing Water) Regulations 2009.
    Designated bathing waters now need to comply with new standards that are twice as strict as they were prior to 2015. The new directive only requires the monitoring of just two microbiological indicators of faecal contamination: E Coli and intestinal enterococci. This simplification reflects recognition that faecal material, for instance due to sewage contamination, is the primary health threat to bathers.
    At the end of the 2015 bathing season, bathing sites will be classified into four categories: “excellent”, “good”, “sufficient”, or “poor”. These classifications will be based on an analysis of the sample results taken over the current bathing season and the preceding three years instead of a single year’s result as at present. This means that the classification will be less susceptible to bad weather or one-off incidents. Where the water quality is consistently good over a three year period, the frequency of sampling may be reduced. This new directive also requires member states to draw up management measures for each site to minimise the risks to bathers, based on an assessment of the sources that are likely to affect them.
    Information on a bathing site’s quality classification, the results of water quality monitoring, the sites management measures and other relevant information to be made readily available to the public, both through displays at the site and through the media and internet.
    bathing areas: Camp Bay, Little Bay, Catalan Bay, Eastern Beach, Sandy Bay and Western Beach

    ESG Radio Broadcast 6th August

    ESG Newsletter 30th July 2015 – (broadcast 6th August)

    In todays newsletter we shall be looking at new EU bathing water standards; the long awaited EIA for the new power station – also news of a new Eco Park, which is a facility we have lobbied for under the Clean up Campaign and we shall also provide contact details for this year’s event-
    So lets get started:

    The ESG is now assessing the EIA papers for the new power station, which does not include any LNG aspects or storage issues. There are nevertheless a number of concerns we have that include: full impacts from design parameters, emissions, mitigation and stack monitoring, as well as the need to have incorporated the LNG factor into this round of assessments. More will be shared over the next few weeks especially as news continues to be made public by Government on this every few days. Meanwhile, a reminder that the public is invited to see all plans and EIA documents at the offices of Town Planning 3rd floor, Europort, and respond in writing to them with any comments, concerns or objections before the 14th August 2015. The EIA is now available online at the Town Planning website.

    On another matter and quite topical is the enforcement of new EU bathing water standards, which means that we are now sampling and recording differently to how we have been doing for years with changes implemented from the 17th July this year. It means that standards have been tightened and what classifies as acceptable pollution has been significantly reduced. Indeed the environmental agency states that stds will now be twice as strict as they have been to date. The ESG has been contacted by members of the public asking how these new changes will work in practice. We share these concerns and note the Directive calls for all data and information on beaches to be provided on websites and at each site to ensure the public are kept fully informed of water quality at every beach. So more needs to be done but in spite of this, the ESG strongly welcomes the upgrading of water standards, which has been much needed in tackling chronicly polluted waters like Western Beach, for example.

    It is a great shame that under these new standards there is a real risk of beach closure here given its record since 2010. The ESG is planning another push with its legal advisers and in Brussels to ensure that the announcements made by the Spanish authorities this year of a 6.5 million euro plan to rectify its sewage problems in the Bay, which includes La Linea, is implemented with some urgency. We must do all that is possible to rescue this popular family beach. It also follows that Gibraltar must set up its own sewage treatment plant too, which has already been agreed and announced by the local authorities.
    You can find out more info on the new bathing water rules at the agencys’ site which is Environmental Agency.gi.

    A new Eco Park for Gibraltar! This is great news of course. It is a key measure of our Clean up Campaign to address recycling needs locally. Perhaps a more central location would have been helpful – its important to inform the community about the location and all aspects of the operation – not everyone knows where 8 Flint Road is for instance – we wish the project every success, it is a complex business, and a massive logistical challenge. We shall visit the plant soon and update our members with further information – we also hope to see a strong marketing media campaign to encourage and inform the public about this ambitious step to make Gibraltar more environmentally responsible, and ultimately, to make it easier for us all to recycle our waste.

    More teams have signed up for Clean up 2015, get in touch if you would like to take part – this years global day and weekend of action falls on the 19th September. Email us at esg@gibtelecom.net, call 200-48996 or mobile 54960000.

    Thanks for listening!