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  • ESG Radio Broadcast 15/05/14

    ESG Radio Newsletter 15/5/14 – In today’s newsletter we would like to reflect on a number of environmental issues, which have occupied our team in recent times.

    Key Terms:  WHO report findings, Epidemiological studies, Fuel of choice (Gas and Diesel), Accidents, Mobile Phone Masts

    This week we were interviewed on a press release we issued over the WHO report findings, which highlight La Linea as having the worst air quality in the whole of Spain. Clearly this is a matter of concern with this town being the closest to Gibraltar. The ESG has invested much of its time and energies over the years towards seeking action from the European Commission to tackle the gross levels of pollution produced by the giant chemical plants in San Roque and Los Barrios, with the CEPSA Oil Refinery industry especially in mind. There have been a number of authoritative reports published from the health sector in Spain citing concerns over the abnormally high levels of mortality and disease in the Bay’s localities, ranging from La Linea through to Algeciras.

    Such reports have led our group in recent years to lobby at EC level with likeminded NGOs from both sides of the border, to address breaches of compliance of environmental regulations by chemical industries in the area and to insist upon rigorous, transparent, cross border epidemiological studies. While our MEPs strive for our votes next week, and in spite of the efforts made by a specific few, the ESG must voice its frustration with a system that sets out such detailed environmental legislation, which is poorly policed in practice.


    On the local front we consider the WHO report highlights the need for additional, real-time monitoring to be set up in the north western zone of Gibraltar to properly measure the levels of pollution from the numerous local and cross border sources. You can find our full press statement on this issue on our website: esg-gib.net.


    There has been some debate in the local media by Government and the opposition over the fuel of choice and location for the new power station for Gibraltar. The ESG had supported the previous plans for Lathbury at the time, because, and in spite of the impact on our landscape which we also value, the ongoing impact on the health and quality of life on thousands of Gibraltarians was at stake and Lathbury afforded respite to peoples suffering – indeed the EIA at the time confirmed a drop of over 90% of harmful pollutants would be immediately achieved with the decommissioning of all three power stations. The same EIA expressed ‘safety and reliability of supply’ issues to exclude natural liquid gas for Gibraltar. Our group has had opportunity to discuss this at several mtgs with Govt but we have not yet seen any details of assessments made to have altered the ‘diesel only option’ to that of diesel and natural liquid gas. In light of the recent accident at one of our power plants and ongoing debate among political parties on grounds of safety and location, we hope that Government will release technical studies on the matter as soon as possible and allow facts and transparency to form the real debate. We also hope that the new temporary turbines will allow early closure of the stations at Rosia Road, which are once again producing very high levels of pollution in the south district.


    Finally, an issue, which has been on our agenda since the last DPC mtg, is that of Mobile Phone Masts. Several concerned citizens have contacted us after learning, many for the first time, of news that masts are going up in their neighbourhood. At the DPC mtg the ESG highlighted this lack of adequate public consultation and our own misgivings over the present approach to the installation of masts throughout Gibraltar. We have had discussions with Government and Gibtelecom as a key operator over the past few years. There is now a Govt Mast Policy, which addresses some of our concerns, but we believe there is much more to be done and we are deliberating our next steps as we seek to raise further awareness in the community on issues of best practice, the precautionary principle and in the wise use of electronic equipment today. The ESG runs a separate Facebook page with information on this issue and where you can send in any questions or comments. You can find this at:  Mobile Phone Mast Concern Gibraltar. Thanks for listening.