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  • ESG welcomes LOS BARRIOS COAL POWERED PLANT CLOSURE 18.06.20


    Real Steps on Pollution & Climate Change

    18th June 2020

    Following recent news that the UK was completing 2 full months without burning coal, the ESG strongly welcomes hearing that the Los Barrios Coal Fired Power Station is expected to cease operating at the end of June 2020 due, it is believed, to a number of issues such as reduced demand and failure to comply with ever tighter EU emission standards.

    This will bring great dividends to the Bay’s environment given it is a highly polluting and ageing industry.

    Officials delivered news to a gathering which included a number of Spanish environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace, and were told that while plans are to replace some of the lost energy production with wind farms, that full surveys would be undertaken by relevant experts, to ensure the least possible impacts on migratory birds.

    Overall, extremely positive news for pollution levels in the Bay.

    https://www.europasur.es/campo-de-gibraltar/Palo-economia-Campo-Gibraltar-Barrios_0_1473153270.html

    https://www.europasur.es/campo-de-gibraltar/Palo-economia-Campo-Gibraltar-Barrios_0_1473153270.html


    Radio Broadcast 18.06.20


    ESG Radio Broadcast –  18th June 2020

    This is the first broadcast by the ESG since the start of the lockdown. An unprecedented time indeed as we have all watched from the sidelines, or rather, indoors, as the global pandemic has its course, at least, for the time being.

    What was evident to many during the lockdown was how peaceful and clean our environment became with most of us indoors; the absence of noise was also striking with little traffic, construction etc. Nature could breathe once more…. Our return outdoors has sadly seen a renewal of waste and litter dotted about. We support the widespread calls for fines for such behaviour with enforcement being a priority CUTW objective.

    Talking of Clean ups we shall be holding our 16th annual Gibraltar wide event on the 19th of September. Some teams have already signalled interest and we hope with enough numbers we can tackle difficult to access green, coastal and underwater sites and make a positive difference! You can email through your details to esg@gibtelecom.net. Thanks!

    During the lockdown we have continued working both behind the scenes and actively via interviews and media articles. Committee members have been interviewed on the new traffic measures on the online ‘Aqui Que Pasa’ Podcast, while another took part in a lively Viewpoint discussion on the same subject alongside representatives from each political party. OTWO monthly magazine available online is running monthly articles on our various objectives with June focusing on bunkering impacts. Why not check it out?

    Our views on the road closures are that they are fundamentally a good idea and in keeping with the spirit of the ‘Sustainable Traffic and Transport Plan’ but, that a holistic approach is required to ensure the measures deliver a better outcome for the whole of Gibraltar.

    They have however, caused significant controversy especially as these were announced and enacted within a very short space of time.

    However one could also think that with quieter roads due to no tourism, closed schools and reduced border traffic that this could offer us, the locals, a chance to make important changes to limit non essential motorised transport in certain parts of Gibraltar.

    The benefits of such changes could encourage cycling and walking which is good for our health and the environment.

    The Park and Ride facility at Devil’s Tower Road will help prevent some visiting traffic from entering town area – the announcement of its refurbishment this week is welcomed..

    The bus service was reinstated parallel with the road closures and we support the idea of increasing frequency, perhaps even introducing smaller, shuttle buses that can run between peak traffic periods to shorten waiting times.

    An energetic and proactive campaign is needed to replace the aging, diesel coaches and buses and other commercial vehicles on our roads. These are highly polluting and must be tackled with urgency. Incentives and grants will be necessary to make these changes viable.

    Looking ahead the ESG will be picking up its lobbying once more on the various large projects for Gibraltar such as: solid and waste water plants, the commissioning of the Duel Fuelled Power Station, shore side power connection and a cross party programme to tackle climate change impacts in Gibraltar.

    Visit our website for more information: esg-gib.net

    Thanks for listening!



    WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2020


        

    Today marks World Environment Day, a day typically well supported in Gibraltar. Covid has pressed pause on many things including the public promotion of environmental causes and need for state, private and individual action. We wanted to highlight the importance of this day.

    The global theme this year is Time for Nature – possibly selected because of the pandemic and how many have found solace in our great, natural environments and reminded of how essential these are to our lives. It follows that we must do all we can to protect our wonderful diversity and habitats.

    The ESG carries out ongoing clean ups throughout the year from coastal or green spaces, with only yesterday pulling out coils of oil contaminated rope landing on the shores of Camp Bay. It recognises the sterling work undertaken by The Nautilus Project with its focus on beach litter and the schools.

    The recent uproar over the BBQ debris denounced by our community clearly highlights littering as an ongoing local issue that calls for permits and fines to be energetically applied.  

    In the wider world we have to mention the recent environmental catastrophe in the Arctic region caused by a major oil spill into the remote Russian Taymyr Tundra this week. Over 20,000 tons leaked into rivers and streams causing devastation to the regions’ ecology. It is being compared to the Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska decades ago, which continues to impact species recovery as well as community livelihoods. 

    It is well known that the Taymyr tundra in the region over several years has experienced major warming and that the local permafrost is undergoing unprecedented melting. This has been linked to this week’s catastrophe. The clean up will be complex and difficult to achieve increasing the damage caused.

    A reminder that today, on World Environment Day, all nations must take up meaningful action on Climate Change without further delay, increase protection of our wilderness areas, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and create a safer world for our children and all species who make up this wonderful planet.

    CUTW 2020 set for 19th September with more info to follow soon.



    ESG Welcomes New Government Pilot Traffic Scheme 05.05.2020


    ESG strongly welcomes Government’s announcement yesterday that it intends to take action in reducing traffic levels from 3 busy road arteries in Gibraltar thereby reducing pollution and creating calmer roads for pedestrians and cyclists also.

    The group hopes that the measures announced yesterday mark the start of a radical transport review that will help retain some of the environmental gains made during the lockdown. Clearly accelerating the Park and Ride facility as designed at Devil’s Tower Road will also support any changes in traffic flow in our busy town.

    The ESG looks forward to contributing our own recommendations in every way possible and as part of the public feedback exercise stated by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.



    ESG Calls for Action on Traffic measures 01.05.2020


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    The ESG believes Gibraltar should take the opportunity of this pause that has been imposed on us, to try and make real changes on impacts that affect our health, quality of life and Climate Change.

    Excessive traffic in our small town is a critical issue and it is hoped that Government has been brainstorming to see what immediate changes can be introduced to limit the full impact from a return to full-on domestic, commercial, construction, and incoming border traffic. A number of cities around Europe are already rolling out new measures to reduce motorised traffic.

    The benefits that come from clean air and calm roads, have been experienced by us all during the pandemic, indeed with many commenting on how positive the improvements have been. 

    We hope the community will get behind any new measures introduced by Government with these aims in mind.



    ESG Radio Newsletter 05.03.20


    The ESG visited the new Power Station this week and followed up on a number of issues of interest. These included real time monitoring, onshore power provision, the projected full commissioning date for the new Power Station, the issue of skid generators, and more. A separate statement will be released soon.

    Additionally the group has been holding a series of meetings with the Transport Ministry and new Minister highlighting our concerns on traffic issues; in particular about Gibraltar’s need to take on the bigger challenges associated with reducing traffic volume on our streets, encouraging cleaner and alternate modes of transport and tackling pollution as an urgent public health issue.

    For details on our aims in this important topic please visit our website at esg-gib.net – for our 2019 List of Objectives.

    The ESG was especially interested to observe the recent cross border technical meetings which took place in Algeciras. This was the start of the MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) regarding many issues post Brexit. Our interest is in cross border environmental management and response where we have taken up issues at EU level for the past 2 decades. The absence of this regulatory framework seriously troubles us and we are following developments closely to ensure the issues we have long campaigned on regarding the heavy chemical industries in the Campo area, as well as border sewage contamination from La Linea.

    Today, Climate Change is  being eclipsed by the coronavirus. It is incredible how life can change so quickly. However we continue to request publication of Governments Action plans on Climate Change and will keep up our focus on the environment whilst at the same time sincerely hoping that the best case scenario will prevail over the current global viral outbreak.

    Lets hope we can get back to the urgent issue of the day to make our planet a safer, cleaner and healthier place for us all – climate change will not wait.



    Radio Broadcast 13.02.2020


    In our second 2020 broadcast we have great expectations from a fresh government and highly environmental manifesto – that has aspiration to deliver a Child Friendly and Green City. We share this vision, of course, and want to see measures to achieve this in place as fast as possible. We are now seeking and holding meetings with Government in various areas to ascertain their plan of action. This week we held a lengthy and productive meeting with several of our committee members and the Minister for the Environment and his team and ran through all our objectives. We will continue to monitor issues until such time as we see these fully addressed. You can find our Core List of Objectives at the home page of our website at  : www.esg-gib.net

    Later this month we meet with the Minister for Transport. Following a lengthy understanding with the previous Minister Paul Balban, the ESG looks ahead to re-establish contact on these issues with Minister Daryanani on Traffic and Transport matters to address Gibraltar’s most pressing issues in these areas. This topic is huge – we will talk about cleaner technology, about the need for urgent and decisive action, about cross border vehicles and the construction industry contribution, and enforcement measures to tackle worst offenders.  The Govt STTP  “Sustainable Traffic and Transport Plan” produced after wide consultation and preparation has within it a number of bold measures which, if applied, could bring about changes that many seek.

    We are hopeful that reports explaining Government’s plan of action in every sector to co-deliver a Child Friendly and Green city will be released soon.

    Just some info for those of you interested. Following positive feedback from our 1st 5G debate we are currently exploring a follow up and will also be participating in a dedicated Viewpoint Programme on this topic very soon!

    Now we are out of Europe politically speaking, it raises big concerns for us. One of our key targets since we started in the year 2000 was cleaning up the petrochemical industry across the border, namely CEPSA. We had representation in the EU Parliament, legislation that even the EU could not argue was being flagrantly ignored, despite strong Spanish lobbying,  we managed to get the spotlight all the way from Brussels on to this huge industry, saw audits undertaken and measures introduced to drag it up a few notches into a measurably cleaner operation.  This loss of redress deeply concerns us. We shall be studying our Environmental MOU’s to see how we can protect ourselves and the environment from transgressions caused by our neighbours.

    Yesterday saw heavy emissions from a chimney at this plant blow across Puente Mayorga and towards La Linea. It appeared to have lasted a considerable time with Verdemar complaining late last night about the heavy smoke blowing while people slept. They talked about sulphurous fumes.

    The ESG detected strong chemical smells in the south district, that our local authorities thought could possibly be linked to the smoky emissions in Spain. The smells in Gibraltar were very much like you find close to the Refinery itself, a sweet and sickly smell.  During our Bucket sampling days we learnt to distinguish between chemical smells and yesterday gave us reason to believe the fumes were solvent based VOC (volatile organic compounds).

    We hope there won’t be any repetition of these fumes but should this happen it may be time for us to revive our bucket sampler and grab an air sample!

    Thanks for listening –



    ESG Radio Newsletter 30.01.20


     

    Hi there- this our first radio broadcast for 2020! We start the year planning and strategising best way forward in a number of areas important to the ESG and to many in the community.

    Very recently, and on the back of 5G mast applications presented to DPC by Gibtelecom, the ESG organised a public debate that saw Gibtelecom and the ESG present information and concerns on this ever growing technology to those present. The interest and knowledge displayed by many in the audience was evident and the thirst for more discussion also clear.

    The meeting was lively, busy and informative. The issue behind 5G represents a variety of areas of interest/query and concern. Thus the mtg focused only on whether 5G, as is being discussed globally, will be set up in Gibraltar any time soon – and what exactly this meant.

    We believe assurances were delivered on current plans but many questions relating to this topic remain and we are now exploring the possibility of a follow up public debate.

    Look out for ‘A Brighter Future” GBC series that plans to feature this debate and subject next week. Viewpoint is also preparing a special programme on this issue.

    The debate has certainly started – and will continue for some time still. Our view of updating safety regulations for this industry tailored specifically for Gibraltar needs, and the application of the Precautionary Principle,  remains firmly in place.

     While on the subject of A Brighter Future we urge those interested in Gibraltar’s environment and climate change to look at this series currently online, as it aims to draw attention to our wonderful biodiversity, the impressive community participation and support for our nation wide Clean up Campaign and in Episode 3, information on where exactly you can take your non kitchen waste for recycling – it informs on facilities, waste types etc.  Think this will surprise many, and also encourage those who think recycling is not being done in Gibraltar and is a waste of time. It clearly is, on an impressive scale, and the more people who use our facilities, the better we will do. Another feature in episodes 1 and 3 is coverage on Climate Change action, marches, and interviews by the Coalition for Climate Action etc. This Coalition is currently also planning its campaign for 2020.

    Another issue never far from our thoughts is Transport. We are seeking a meeting with the new Minister for Transport where we shall present our concerns and recommendations in the hope that urgency will be applied to this issue. Updates on this soon!

    DPC – that’s the Development and Planning Commission – resume its monthly sessions next week with the first 2020 mtg happening on the 4th February. A large project that could interest the public is the old casino site on Europa Road and the replacement building planned for this site. The ESG is opposed to the scale of this project, which we believe impacts on an important part of our natural heritage including the Botanic Gardens and Nature Reserve. DPC meeting is open to the public and starts at 9.30am.

    In 2020 the ESG will be following up with various Ministers on issues within their portfolios which carry significant environmental impacts. We will also run additional debates and discussions on key areas of interest and concern to our members that are also in the public interest.

    Visit our website at esg-gib.net for press releases and newsletters. Email us at esg@gibtelecom.net  . Thanks for listening.



    Gibraltar holds first 5G Public Debate 28.01.20


    The ESG would like to thank Gibtelecom for joining us in the recent 5G debate.

    Full attendance during highly inclement weather, on a Friday evening, further confirmed the strong interest in this subject and we commend everyone who attended and enriched the evening. We are also very grateful to Owen Smith for the role he played as mediator/chair, which allowed the debate to move along covering both sides of the issue fairly.

    Gibtelecom explained their position on how they roll out telecommunications services in Gibraltar today and how they envisage the use of 5G going forward.

    ESG presented the other side of the story –about the speed in which this technology is being rolled out throughout the world, and concerns, widely shared, about the possible negative effects on human health of such relentless growth.

    The debate saw 2 full hours of presentation, Q&A session and open floor and could easily have continued. It is expected that there will be further opportunities for this issue to be aired over the coming weeks.

    Overall the ESG believes the evening achieved its objective when it first proposed such a public debate at a recent DPC meeting when Gibtelecom submitted 5G mast applications. We do not rule out any more public meetings in future.

    What is clear is there is a real interest and thirst for clarity and information in Gibraltar about the technology that exists in our lives today; a technology that creates an ever more interesting, diverse and sophisticated world, but raises questions about the possible health impacts that must be explored fully.

    Look out for more discussions coming along soon and we thank GBC for filming this lively and first ever 5G debate to take place on the Rock.

    May the debate continue!



    5G Public Debate 10.01.20


    The ESG has voiced concerns, which have been shared by others, over the ever-increasing electro magnetic radiation pollution deriving from the gadgets we use and the masts that service these.

    While acknowledging that the use of this technology is an inevitable aspect of our every day life, we continue to believe that careful use at a personal level, and the precautionary principle applied at an industrial level, should always be applied.

    The group held separate meetings recently with the Chief Minister and Gibtelecom during 2019 to share concerns about 5G coming to Gibraltar. At the last DPC mtg Gibtelecom received approval to install 4 masts for testing and data collection purposes. The ESG believes it is now time for a public debate to be held to enable a full, free and informative discussion to take place.  A date has been set for the 24th January at 7pm.

    Please read following information:

    1. The ESG and Gibtelecom have agreed it would be in the public interest to hold such a meeting together to ensure both sides of the story are covered in detail and invite people interested to register at email: 5Gdebate@gibtelecom.net

    2. Registration by email will start as from 15th January and not before. Due to venue restrictions, and to ensure a full exchange of views can take place, there will be a limit on numbers and the first 45 people to register will attend.

    3. Should interest exceed capacity there has already been discussion of holding a second debate.

    4. We are also asking those registering to please submit a question or comment you would like to see debated with your email.

    5. Only those who have registered and received confirmation will be able to attend.

    6. Debate will be held on the 24th January at 7pm at the Lecture Room in the John Mackintosh Hall. (Friday). Duration; 1.5 to 2 hours max

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