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  • ESG Radio Broadcast 140213

    ESG Radio Newsletter Feb 14th 2013
    Hello- in today’s newsletter we continue our focus on our election wish list of 2011.
    Last time we looked at issues ranging from climate change to bunkering and how these need to be addressed from a local perspective. Today we look at: sewage treatment, conservation, planning, the environmental action management plan, cross border issues and epidemiological studies. By the way, if you miss any of these bulletins you can always find radio scripts and press releases on our website at: esg-gib.net.
    Our environment is precious to us all, it is life giving, and its own health is crucial to our very own quality of life. It is the fundamental premise that drives the ESG in pursuing our aims through lobbying, campaigning and generally promotion of these issues.

    • We begin this week with Sewage- not a savoury topic, we know, but a growing problem: to our north, we suffer direct discharge of Spanish sewage into still waters affecting an important beach, to the south, we discharge our entire sewage into open water, untreated, and illegal. The good news is that at recent meetings with the authorities, we understand that we will see action on this front for Gibraltar’s sewage management, at long last but we shall continue to monitor this. Our compliance should hopefully have a bearing in Brussels taking a firmer stand with Spain over La Linea’s sewage problems but we shall continue to keep up the pressure.
    • Conservation- the protection of our natural environment is very important to the ESG. We have lobbied for some years now to see tree planting programmes throughout Gibraltar and for the expansion and upkeep of green areas within the urban environment. The Commonwealth Park will provide such a haven in the town centre. It is important that 2013 doesn’t go by without the implementation of recommendations made in the Upper Rock Management Plan produced by GONHS some 8 years ago. We shall continue to lobby for this.
    • On Planning the ESG welcomes our seat on the DPC as we have been able to present concerns and recommendations directly within the decision making process. We have called for a review of the planning procedure- the current open nature of the DPC meetings addresses some of our concerns that previously existed. However, with various statutes and aged practices still in place, a new Town Planning Act is overdue and needs to go out to public consultation. Today we are still seeing the fruits of bad planning decisions made in the past. Such bad decisions will have long-term repercussions on our quality of life and that of our children so it’s critical to get the new Town Planning Act just right. For info, next planning mtg on the 19th Feb at 9.30am at the John Mack Hall.
    • Next we come to Gibraltar’s Environmental Action and Management Plan. This was first published in February 2011 after the signing up to an Environmental Charter in 2005. At the time we said it did not address all core issues with enough urgency, intent or transparency. Two full years later, and after mtgs and discussions along the way a new, revised version of the Plan is due to be published. We call upon Government to release this without further delay.
    • Next in our list is Cross Border issues – a big one, for sure. Just today looking south a thick band of smog sits upon the horizon, to the north, a thick sulphurous band of fumes is discharged from the refinery into a beautiful blue sky, beginning the filthy cycle of daily pollution into the bay environment once again. We had reached an important point some time back with a cross border group of NGOs lobbying a team of politicians apparently willing to listen under the Tripartite Process. Like a house of cards, this collapsed, and we are very much back where we started. We cannot and will not give up. We are in touch with some NGOs in Spain and are discussing joint strategies to continue the fight against bay pollution. This has to be tackled together and we shall persevere.
    • Now for Epidemiological Studies. After the Govt funded Epid Report was published, our advisers found the conclusions seriously lacking, and various recommendations were made to Govt at the time, and repeated again to the new administration. Discussions continue on this and we are now of the mind that long-term studies are an integral part of public health understanding and management but that reducing pollution to start with, is probably the more immediate way of bringing about a healthier society – we shall continue to lobby for both.

    For more information plse contact us at 200-48996 or 54960000. You can also join up and become a member. Check out our website for more local environmental news and also for a snapshot view of the biggest environmental stories making headlines in Europe today. That’s on esg-gib.net