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  • Airport and Road EIA(Environmental Impact Assessment)

    While we welcome certain aspects of the recently published EIA on up and coming works on the Airport and connecting road, the ESG would like to highlight some serious concerns that have arisen as a result of this publication.

    Large projects of this type should receive longer scrutiny from the public. The impacts from such large scale operations justify open discussion to give the public the opportunity to raise concerns and ask questions directly of developers, engineers and decision makers. The ESG feels that that the time allocated for public participation has been insufficient.

    The fact that files cannot be copied or removed from the viewing room and no pictures can be taken of the models provided means that ordinary citizens (who have work and family commitments) cannot properly read and digest the information provided and are therefore unable to give the matter due consideration. CD’s containing the EIA (from the author) are apparently available for individuals to take home, but they are being sold at (£50) and this does not encourage purchase. Clearer guidelines are needed on public access to information on planning applications and especially on EIA’s.

    It is hoped that Government will reopen the consultation period for both the airport/road and Eastside project and arrange for public meetings to enable fuller participation on projects which are radically transforming Gibraltar’s landscape. With the assessments for large projects running concurrently this must also stretch those tasked with judging the full impacts from the projects and may not produce the best outcome for Gibraltar and the environment.

    Points which are of particular concern to the ESG are as follows

    * The EIA claims that the projected increase of 3000 to 9000 flights will not affect noise and air pollution. The ESG would like to challenge this as it defies common sense.

    * The increase in traffic that will come about as a result of the project.

    * The impact to people/roads from the construction phase.

    * The loss of the aerial farm as rare isthmus habitat for migrating birds.

    * Ground excavation during construction phase, particularly for the tunnel, may encourage scavenging birds, such as yellow legged gulls, in the area of the airport. This may result in potential bird strike on aircraft.

    On a positive note the ESG welcomes the fact that pedestrians and cyclists will be allowed to continue using the runway crossing as well as be provided with a new cycling and pedestrian path under the airfield.

    In light of all these points mentioned we are certain that extending deadlines for public scrutiny is necessary and we shall be approaching the Gibraltar Government to review this situation.