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  • ESG PR re HMS Newport 290116

    ESG Press Release
    HMS Newport visit to the Rock
    29th January 2016

    The ESG has been approached by members of the public concerned about the on-going presence of HMS Newport in Gibraltar.

    The group asks the Gibraltar Government and Ministry of Defence to provide information on the status of this submarine and what it is doing in Gibraltar: if it is undergoing repairs of any type, and what these might be.

    Alternatively, if the submarine is here purely for respite and recreation then public assurances would also be welcomed.”


    ESG Radio Newsletter 210116

    ESG Radio Newsletter 21st January 2016 – Renewable Energy and Threat of New Refinery

    As 2016 begins to start rolling the ESG reviews its areas of priority that it intends to take up with Government. Naturally one of these is on Renewable Energy, a challenge facing communities everywhere that will succeed as a measure of the drive and investment made by each governing authority.

    In Gibraltar you often hear: why aren’t we moving faster on green energy? Doing more? Certainly we have shared that view since we first formed as a group over 15 years ago. It must be said however, that renewable energy, legislation, plans and infrastructure has started becoming more visible in recent years and we shall be discussing these issues again with Government to see how its Renewable Energy programme is being driven and what timelines in fact are in place. We hope to see significant investment and large scale projects set up soon to harness our bountiful renewable energy sources via solar, wind, wave and current power.

    The EcoWave pilot study being set up on the East side disused jetty should provide a green light on that technology and allow it to establish itself on a greater scale – with underwater current technology hopefully, also tested soon. The appearance of solar panelling at various corners of the Rock provides many with a peace of mind that Gibraltar is moving forward and supporting the drive to meet the challenges posed by climate change. However, with a new LNG plant, Sewage and Waste Plant soon to be built and run on fossil fuels, the bigger picture in terms of meeting our major energy and desalination needs sustainably remains open.

    The ESG will be having these discussions and more when it meets with Government next week.

    Of course major fossil fuel use needs refineries and this brings us round to the very alarming threat exposed this week by the Spanish Foreign Minister, Margallo, that Spain is working with Iran to invest in a major new refinery. With the Bay announced as the Ministers favourite location alarm bells have been ringing loudly throughout communities on both sides of the border. Petitions and surveys abound and environmental NGOs have been quick to condemn this possibility with the ESG, Verdemar, Agaden and Plataforma Social all voicing strong objections via media outlets.

    It is quite shocking and hard to believe that a second refinery could ever be built in the Bay when the present one has over decades created such a toxic load in the region strongly linked to clusters of cancers and other diseases. Not to mention the environmental degradation that follows massive heavy industry such an Oil Refinery.

    Late last night news broke that Huelva provides more land for the project and will be the first to be properly assessed over the coming weeks. Of course Huelva has its own fair share of environmental and health problems due to a massive petrochemical complex and no doubt citizens will also fight to resist a new refinery there too.

    We have been in talks with a number of the groups in the Bay and will be monitoring the situation very closely.

    Visit our website esg-gib.net for our press statements and other links to this critical story.

    Thanks for listening

    ESG say NO! to new Refinery 190116

    ESG Press Release
    NO! to New Refinery
    19th January 2016


    “The ESG wishes to make clear that it intends to place its weight behind every effort to stop plans to build a new Iranian/Spanish Oil Refinery in the Bay, notably Algeciras.

    This region, says the group, is already under considerable pressure from the poorly managed CEPSA Refinery in San Roque. The long-term air and water emissions from the Petrochemical complex are widely believed to be causing higher rates of cancers and other diseases leading the Bay to be part of the “Triangle of Higher Mortality” studies published by the esteemed Professor Joan Benach, a public health expert from Barcelona and his team.

    The ESG, with the support of the international law firm Hassan’s, and the Gibraltar office in Brussels, is awaiting news from the European Commission on the compliance standards at the CEPSA Plant, as its emissions continue to cause concern among bay populations.

    The prospect, therefore, of a second Oil Refinery going up in our Bay is totally unacceptable and we sincerely hope that all tiers of civil society, both here and throughout the Bay, will join the fight to prevent this from happening.

    Another factor, which must be considered, is the effort Europe is making to rule out future fossil fuel use as it joins the world in addressing climate change challenges and meeting targets. We shall also therefore be lobbying Brussels to urge them not to issue any permits for new refineries and stop any major expansion of the present refinery.

    The ESG will be taking this issue up with Government and other long-term partners in the region to explore the next steps.”

    Links to story:


    ESG radio Newsletter 7th January 2016

    ESG Radio Newsletter 7th January 2015

    Hi- the first of our 2016 broadcasts and we look ahead to the New Year with concerns for our environment, but also with optimism that the answers lie in finding and applying solutions. Together.

    Some useful information for you: next DPC meeting will be on the 27th January at 9.30am Charles Hunt Room, John Mackintosh Hall. This meeting will look at revised plans for Rosia Bay as well as the skyscraper Eurocity application among several others. While the full agenda details will emerge a week before the mtg, you can see possible inclusions by getting on the eplanning site via egov.gi – and setting yourself up with a name and password to log on and view all validated applications.

    You can then select key dates for information on deadlines for objections, etc. It’s clear that many projects cause concerns in the community and its important that the Town Planners and the DPC hear these. This is the point of eplanning to be more inclusive and improve on information sharing – both ways. In the past it was extremely difficult to get information on any application as one had to physically go to Town Planning and spend hours poring through huge files and plans. This has now been replaced by online access to information. This is a huge step forward and we urge everyone to make use of this to help Gibraltar develop more collegiately. This has been a long-term ESG aim.

    While more the remit of pure conservation and fishing lobbies, the ESG has also been approached by its members regarding the blatant raking and fishing off Waterport Terraces by Spanish fishing boats during the festive period. We shall be meeting with Government shortly to discuss their approach on this and share our members concerns.

    Some movement on cross border pollution – we are pleased to confirm that questions sent by the ESG to MEPs Ashley Fox and Molly Scott Cato, with support from Sir Graham Watsons team and David Dumas QC of Hassan’s, have been tabled and published on the European Parliament website. We now await the Commissions response. The questions concern requesting an update on its monitoring of the Refinery and associated industry on compliance given the on-going excessive and poorly managed emissions, and, the need for an urgent timetable of investment by Spain to rectify Western Beach sewage contamination by la Linea municipality. More news on this once we have had the Commissions response.

    Good news and on the actions by the Commission in response to Spanish environmental groups and citizen protest, is the stopping of plans for development of the Valdevaqueros zone in Tarifa, a protected area in its own right. This is great news at the start of the year. Lets hope the Commission can use its muscle on pollution issues in the Bay too.

    On the LNG front of course 2015 saw several meetings and detailed discussions that we held with various project leaders. Our latest submission was yesterday for the Scoping Report, a precursor to the full EIA for the LNG storage plant. The ESG worked on this over Xmas and relayed points we believe need to be included under the EIA process.

    The ESG thanks its members and the public in general for its support and interest in our efforts during 2015. Looking forward we shall continue working for our aims and objectives for a healthier Gibraltar and Bay area. You can find more details on our esg-gib.net website where you can also join up as well as read about our work over the years. Next newsletter will look at Gibraltar’s current status on energy use and its renewable energy plans.

    Thanks for listening and wishing all a healthy and ever greener 2016!

    ESG Radio Newsletter 3rd December 2015

    ESG Radio Newsletter 3rd December 2015

    Hello – well this week has seen a flurry of activity in Paris, for the start of the much-anticipated Climate Change Summit. People everywhere will be watching and waiting to see if meaningful steps are taken at this point to steer humanity in the right direction. David Attenborough, the world-renowned naturalist was asked if he felt confident about the talks this time. He said he wasn’t and that the scale of the problem was hideous.
    However he added that it seemed to him that the danger is becoming more and more clear to the people attending this conference and that there is, at last, the chance that something might come out of it.
    Attenborough is backing the Global Apollo Programme – a 10-year plan to make renewable energy cheaper than the use of fossil fuels.

    This programme suggests that developed countries of the world get together the scientists of the world to solve the remaining problems – in the gathering, transmission and the storage of energy. He believes that if we do that everyone will benefit and that the oil and coal, which is causing all the problems, will remain in the earth where it does no harm at all. The arguments for such a programme are powerful.
    We recommend you read the report available on line: just Google Global Apollo Programme.
    Lets hope that that this programme can obtain real support and traction at the current climate talks session.

    These talks would have had far greater profile in the world media had they not been superseded by the horrific acts of violence in Paris a few weeks before. Add to this the tragic scenes of humanity on the move with the refugee crisis and it is clear that attention and resources are currently being directed towards issues of security and humanitarian aid. With climate change posing worsening conditions for countries around the world, these issues, we are told, will only grow making the current Paris Talks the most important issue going on at the moment.

    Our WishList, published online leads with Climate Change and Energy calling for wider discussion locally so we, as a community, can understand and participate in the current drive to reduce our own impacts. We realise that Government has an Energy Policy that sets out its plans to meet renewable energy targets and this is also welcome. More dialogue and debate is needed at community level on such a major issue.

    An update for those interested in the LNG and Power Station issue. The ESG has held a number of technical meetings with experts over the past few weeks and is now once again assimilating information given. We have also obviously taken every opportunity to express our concerns and calls for what we consider to be the key issues and best outcomes. More will be published separately soon. See esg-gib.net for more info.

    Finally, a date for the next DPC meeting –taking place on the 11th December, possibly the last one of the year. At its usual time of 9.30am at the John Mack Hall, Charles Hunt Room. The agenda should be found online tomorrow.

    Thanks for listening!