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  • CEPSA Flares again! 290117

    ESG Press Release

    CEPSA Heavy Flares

    29th January 2017

    On Sunday afternoon the ESG received several messages and calls from concerned citizens from both sides of the border due to alarming levels of flaring by the CEPSA Oil Refinery.

    Flaring is carried out as an emergency measure when there is a break in power supply. This has been confirmed by CEPSA in the Spanish press.

    However flaring releases large volumes of toxic gases into the environment and must therefore be managed to last the shortest possible time. On Sunday it took close to 40 minutes before it finally petered out.

    A technical audit carried out on this industry some years ago found that a number of measures were needed to contain and reduce levels of pollution. A key measure was the installation of onsite back-up power supply to keep emergency flaring to the shortest possible time given the impact this has on people and the environment throughout the Bay.

    Given this recent and excessive flaring episode we shall be taking up this issue once again with the relevant EU directorate and ask that they look into the matter with some urgency.





    ESG Radio Broadcast 26th January 2017

    ESG Radio Broadcast 26th January 2017


    Today we wanted to talk plastics, Brexit and the Trump Environmental Threat.

    We have all watched, many with growing consternation, the passage of D Trump into the Oval office. His corporate pro oil background signals a possible throwback to peak industrial times in the USA that saw decades of environmental degradation with far reaching impacts on the rest of the planet. The environmental lobby today on climate change has grown to represent virtually all sectors of society: in education, science, green economies, global treaties and the ESG sincerely hopes that efforts to potentially reverse this progress will fail.


    Brexit continues to headline our news showing also the divisive and uncertain nature of changes heralded by the referendum result last summer. The environment, our focus, is not mentioned much and is unlikely to be, as other priorities come to the fore. Regardless we shall continue to monitor the situation and push for continued high environmental standards that affect our quality of life and the environment.


    Mainstream news juggernaut Sky is running a Plastics campaign this week highlighting the severe threat of plastics in our oceans. It is positive to see this crucial issue hit mainstream media but this is not a secret and has been widely known about for some decades now. Indeed the Clean up Campaign that we signed up to in 2005 has focused on this issue and much of our efforts have been on the threat of this material to the natural environment as well as co-coordinating Gibraltar wide clean ups. The founder of CUTW, Ian Kiernan, is a sailor and discovered hordes of plastic waste in every cove and distant coastline in his native Australia, which triggered the start of the huge global clean up campaign that for the past 25 years encourages people everywhere to rid their environment of litter and waste.


    The good thing that will happen with the Sky Campaign is that ideas will be shared as to how to deal with single use plastics in our modern societies today. We have advocated for improved cleaning of shoreline and natural areas, greater recycling and improved facilities and containment of our waste. With 75% of waste entering the seas from land sources the solutions to the plastics ocean crisis must come from addressing these issues within every community.


    At a corporate level solutions to improve in manufacturing will also help and increasing biodegradability and composition of plastics which will also help the situation. Another clever idea used in Norway, for example, is a money back service on plastic bottles akin to returns on glass bottles some decades ago. This results in 99% of bottles manufactured in Norway being recycled as all are returned in exchange for some money. This could be done in Gibraltar with some success. The present Government is also planning to legislate against the use of plastic bags and importation of microbeads in products – this is all positive too.


    Meanwhile we continue to carry out voluntary clean ups of plastic waste from our shorelines. Remember you can take plastic rubbish to the Eco Park, off Devil’s Tower Road, where it will be baled for onward recycling.

    For more information on local litter and waste issues and on the Clean up Campaign Gibraltar please email us at esg@gibtelecom.net

    Nuclear Monitor Changes? 170117

    ESG Press Release

    Re Nuclear Monitor

    17th January 2017


    The ESG adds its concerns to those expressed regarding the downgrading of the official position of nuclear monitor within the MoD paid ranks.

    Nuclear Submarine Activity and visits to Gibraltar demands that constant monitoring and vigilance of this practice is maintained locally.

    However the groups concerns lie in also asking for clarification of what precisely the nuclear monitors do? Are they regularly checking for leaks, nuclear contamination of the environment, or is it just a unit that would be used in case of an emergency to monitor radiation levels in people or workers? If the latter should this not be carried out by medical personnel? Is the nuclear monitor on standby only when a submarine is in port?

    To what degree are these assessments done if they can also be done on a voluntary basis?

    This issue is clearly one of public health interest and it is hoped that Government will take this up urgently and call for highest standards to be adopted in protecting our welfare and the environment from this military activity.

    It is quite unfathomable and unacceptable that in the same week that the Spanish Government confirms its practice of monitoring radiation backgrounds during submarine visits to Gibraltar that the local population is indirectly informed that we are now to expect such local official monitoring to come from Spain, or from a voluntary secondment? The group adds that should the third option of flying in visiting units be used, any delays in responding to a serious radiation problem could prove fatal.

    We would like to see top, professional monitoring in place by qualified and experienced staff to support and assess all nuclear activity and respond to any problems as these arise. Anything less would be unacceptable.

    The ESG will be taking this issue up with both Government and the MoD forthwith.



    ESG concerns re Campo ACERINOX fire 170117

    ESG noted with some alarm the voluminous clouds of thick black smoke leaving the Acerinox complex last week. Alongside Spanish groups, it further notes there was an absence of comments by any authority, or helpful feedback from emergency numbers provided. Moreover, no statement has been forthcoming from the company itself.


    The ESG believes that this is not the way for an industry to behave in this day and age when a factual and transparent announcement, stating cause and composition of fire, is the least all Bay citizens deserve. Prevalent winds sent this cloud throughout the Campo area and towards Gibraltar so we were all affected.


    It is unacceptable for silence to follow such an incident, which, though brief, had such a widespread and cross border range. The ESG will include this incident with others being assembled in a dossier for EU purposes.


    Thick Smoke at Acerinox Jan 2017

    ESG Radio News 12.01.17

    Key words:- Power Station and BAT, CUTW litter, Renewable Energy, Traffic & Transport, Port Activity, Acerinox fire, Real-time monitoring, Dogs and Planning

     Welcome to our first 2017 newsletter. We would like to wish all a healthy and positive year ahead.

    2017 will see the ESG move to new premises that will help develop outreach projects and engage with members and the public more directly. A membership drive will follow and we hope those interested in a more active role in helping the environment will respond.

    We are focusing at present on issues such as the Power station and use of best technology, as well as CUTW littering and waste, together with the development of widespread use of renewable energy. Traffic & Transport is also in our sights and we hope that as well as implementing common sense measures for interim improvements, that a long-term and time lined plan will be set up to bring about real change in the way our community mobilises. These and other issues are contained in a 2017 updated ESG Wish List that forms the basis of our lobbying efforts this year.

    Also in this list is for all Port activity, including Dockyard and Rook area, to be run with least environmental impact on our community and environment. This includes air and noise pollution. We receive calls from affected citizens often enough to know these impacts continue and are difficult to pin down. We therefore insist that it is up to those carrying out industrial activity to do so following highest standards and using best available technology. Regulations must also be policed effectively if they are going to achieve standards they are designed to maintain. This way our economy does not suffer but neither does our health and quality of life.

    Just a few days ago we witnessed a heavy trail of black voluminous smoke emerge from the Acerinox steel smelting plant. Prevalent winds swept this across the campo area towards Gibraltar. It was an alarming sight made worse by an absence of any official statement by the company of the origin or cause of this fire. It is clear that such a large chemical industrial base as exists in the hinterland will always be the ultimate threat and heaviest impact to the Bays environment and we shall monitor and continue our efforts with colleagues across the border to rein these industries in.

    We shall also focus on seeing real-time monitoring set up in the Northwest of Gibraltar. This could assist in capturing pollution levels more effectively from local and cross border sources, in what is a densely populated zone

    A word on littering issues– many will know of our annual Clean up event that engages wide spread support to highlight and clean worse affected nature spots around the Rock. This amazing effort fuels our determination the rest of the year in pressing for necessary measures such as extra facilities and increased monitoring, cleaning and policing, to be put in place. We aim for a cleaner Gibraltar in 2017 and a homeland we can all enjoy and be truly proud of. Thanks to all who are working hard on these matters year round.

    We acknowledge the efforts made by the authorities in controlling wanton use of fireworks this year. We have had mixed feedback from the public and are taking this up with those concerned.

    The increased presence of dogs in our community has created a number of issues. From the need for open space for exercise to policing and maintaining these areas, that are, after all, shared communal spaces. It is becoming a significant issue that requires serious management and monitoring. It is always the few that wreck a relaxed approach for the many, but given the numbers involved there really is no choice. Again, as with littering, prevention of dumping of dog faeces, supported by policing and increased maintenance must follow. We wish the DNA programme luck in helping bring these issues under control.

    For those interested in planning matters note down the next DPC mtg is on the 24th January. These meetings are open to the public and all applications are published online: just google egov.gi and go to Town Planning.     For more info on anything you have heard please email us at: esg@gibtelecom.net

    thanks for listening (reading!)