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  • ESG Radio Newsletter 24/03/16

    ESG Radio Newsletter 24th March 2016

     Key Words:- Traffic and Transport Plan, Tracking and Idling, Western Beach and Large Marine Fuel Facility

    In this newsletter before the Easter break we wanted to share some focus on a few environmental issues of interest to the public and our members.

    As many will know the ESG works year round to achieve as many of our goals as possible. These goals are contained in our Wish List, or Core Aims list and can be found on the home page of our website: esg-gib.net.


    We have recently met with the Minister for Transport, Mr Paul Balban, and presented our concerns and aims related to transport and traffic in Gibraltar. We have also been calling for the publication and implementation of the new Traffic and Transport plan. We therefore welcome the Ministers interview on GBC recently committing to the imminent release of the implementation plan.

    We are also keen to see installed the bus tracking system believing this can only help persuade more and more car drivers to move to using public transport with confidence. Another concern we have is that of idling – that is leaving your engine running while parked – be it roadside anywhere, or at the border especially when there are traffic jams or gridlock. Idling releases toxic fumes which are harmful to health and affect pedestrians, cyclists and even those same people sitting in cars. Idling wastes fuel and also produces noise pollution. In the UK there are various statutes and laws, which exist to minimise and control unnecessary idling. We shall be taking this matter up once again with the Minister to explore what can be done in Gibraltar to eliminate this additional pollution from our streets.

    Western Beach is once again in our sights as we prepare our response to the European Commissions pledge to look at taking legal action against Spain for the infringement of fecal water discharge into this cross border site, fairly certain now that the Sp Authorities appear to have no intention of resolving this environmental problem. We are also calling on our MEPs to follow the process and progress of any legal moves on the part of the Commission. If action isn’t taken soon it is likely that Western Beach will not be open this summer under the higher bathing water standards now in place.

    The ESG is preparing a separate press release on the recent tender announcement by Govt and the Gibraltar Port Authority regarding inviting proposals for a substantial Land Based Marine Fuel facility in Gibraltar.

    We want to know if this facility will replace the current activity at the Detached Mole. We have called for transparency and full public participation in any land based fuel facility as contained in our wish list but believe the situation has changed given that LNG is now being discussed not only for the new power station but also as a potential bunkering fuel. As a group we are very concerned about industrialising Gibraltar further and will be seeking answers from all involved on this project.

    That’s it for now –thanks for listening – have a good and peaceful Easter break and remember you can always get more information from our website at esg-gib.net.

    Joint letter to Chronicle from GONHS & the ESG on balloon release 100316

    Letter to Editor of the Gibraltar Chronicle 10th March 2016


    Dear Sir,

    Gibraltar’s sense of identity and nationhood are important.  They have helped us to endure stern tests and develop into this prosperous and highly educated community.  It is right that we should celebrate these together on National Day.


    In the past few years, Gibraltar has sought to position itself at the forefront of environmental best practice.  It is essential for Gibraltar’s standing in the international community that we are seen to be leaders in what is right.


    Unfortunately, the balloon release on National Day is impossible to defend.  It litters, pollutes and poses a threat to wildlife.  Some of us have been campaigning for years to find a more positive way in which we can celebrate this important day.


    Recently, this matter has attracted the attention of UN Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh, who is campaigning for an end to this practice.  His opinion piece in this newspaper is sensible and shows that he has both the environment and Gibraltar’s interests at heart.  We are encouraged by his approach and most grateful for his support.


    Lewis’s involvement highlights that the environment is a truly international concern.  We are vocal when others pollute our environment and we should seek to minimise our own impact on the planet.  Gibraltar should lead by example on this, just as we do on many other matters.  If we are seen to be wrong on this very visible issue, we run the risk of having our efforts on the environment undermined.  It will be easier, too, for our detractors to argue that we are wrong on much else.


    We urge the public and other organisations to support and join our campaign.  We are convinced that the balloon release will end in the short term.  Common sense and modern practices demand it.  Help us to bring that about.


    Ideas have always been an important currency in our community and Gibraltar has a large pool of creative people.  Indeed, it is the people that define Gibraltar, not the balloons.  Tell us what you would like to see the balloon release replaced with.


    Change will come soon.  Let us all play a part in it.  Let us show leadership and celebrate our identity responsibly and sustainably.


    Yours sincerely,


    GONHS Council                   ESG Committee

    ESG supports calls for change on balloon release on National Day


    29th February 2016


    The ESG welcomes the public discussion taking place on the need to replace the annual release of thousands of balloons on National Day with an environmentally friendly alternative. It has been especially welcoming to hear our own Chief Minister call for change, with this further supported in a recent Chronicle editorial.


    The ESG group acts on marine litter every year through its Clean up the World Campaign and feels most strongly that the massive balloon release is in direct conflict with our campaign aims and objectives to clean up, protect and conserve our living environment.


    We welcome support for a safe alternative from both within and outside Gibraltar and would also wish to thank Lewis Pugh, the UNEP Patron of the Seas, for taking time out from his busy schedule to visit Gibraltar and discuss the true environmental cost of the balloon release directly with Government.


    The ESG will work energetically in 2016 and in partnership with the GONHS, Mr Pugh, the SDGG and all others wanting to see real change on this issue. We agree there are several possible and safe alternatives that can truly celebrate our identity and also call upon the community to participate in the search for viable solutions.