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    The ESG must add its voice to the many from the community who are opposed to the manner in which the Rosia Tanks issue has been handled by this administration.

    Apolitical as the group is, it has to make clear that its opposition to the demolition of the tanks is on the grounds of a “wholly inadequate planning procedure” which has failed dismally to protect the interests and rights of the citizens and environment of Gibraltar. The ESG has long campaigned for an up-to-date development plan and environmental charter precisely to set in place holistic management and long-term planning objectives and policies. This has to be the way forward for Gibraltar and would help prevent these situations from occurring in other areas which should also be protected. In the same way as the group has lobbied and campaigned for an Environmental policy, it has also pressed Government for an up-to-date development plan which often promised, has still not seen the light of day under this administration.

    The spurt of massive developments however, seen around Gibraltar today, without such a plan in place, is an affront to proper planning and to genuine public participation and involvement as required under EU law. It is therefore not surprising that resulting from this mismanagement civic unrest and protest has ensued. From an environmental perspective this poor management of our built environment surely invites further problems of conflict and incompatibility incumbent in such shared land use, i.e. problems such as congestion, devaluation of our tourism product, pressures on infrastructure and facilities.

    Under existing environmental management, all “stake-holders”, i.e. anyone and everyone who has an interest in this development, have a right to be consulted by administrations and agencies and this is enforceable under EU law. Calls for a public enquiry into the inadequate process followed in this instance should be upheld.

    It looks like we might lose another valuable heritage site and could lose others if a stand is not taken now. The ESG therefore, on the defined grounds as stated above, would support any campaign to prevent this from happening and to see proper procedures and policies put in place.