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  • ESG Radio Broadcast 260516

    ESG Radio Newsletter 26th May 2016  

    A number of areas to cover today. Firstly a reminder that the Heritage Trust, GONHS and the ESG are inviting members of the public to send feedback on their Views and Vistas document announced earlier this month. The deadline for comments is the end of May. You can send these to heritage@gibraltar.gi or to the esg@gibtelecom.net. The document, collaboration between all three NGOs is proposing for a number of strategic Gibraltar vistas and views to be safeguarded. We truly welcome public participation on this important matter.


    We were also delighted and honoured to have been one of the nominee’s for this year’s Independent Civil Society awards, for roles in the advancement of civil rights and shaping modern Gibraltar. We thank Equality Rights Group Chairman Felix Alvarez and Unite the Union for recognising the ESG and our efforts in helping place environmental issues squarely on the social and political agenda of Gibraltar.


    With warmer weather upon us pollution levels always seem to rise and take longer to disperse. This is particularly significant and worth focusing on further, on a week that we see the DPC discussing and approving an EIA certificate for the new LNG Storage facility for the upcoming and new Power Station, when Gibraltar’s environmental NGOs call for a “remain in” vote on EU membership, and the WHO issues its biennial, that’s every two years report, on air quality data in European cities showing Gibraltar faring poorly on PM10’s and PM2.5’s which are small sized particles produced from diesel combustion and known to have damaging health impacts.


    The three aging power stations we have used in Gibraltar over the past few decades have not been able to meet EU Directives in recent years. The data being quoted by the latest WHO report is demonstrating this fact and we all know how urgently we need to finally and permanently close all three stations. Although Government and technical advisers on the new power station maintain predominant LNG use, the fact is there is a combination of dual and single fuel engines with diesel still being used at the new plant. This is why the ESG called for conditions to be included on the permit for the new plant to ensure that the highest filtering equipment is used, known as electrostatic precipitators, and for stack monitoring to be installed to carefully measure all emissions. Only in this way, do we believe, can Gibraltar’s air quality, from an energy point of view, improve and lift our ratings from its current poor position. Of course, diesel combustion is present all around us and not only in power stations, from our roads and vehicular activity, to the intense shipping activity in our port and harbour, to the Dockyard, airport, border traffic – and then, of course, cross border with a large chemical industry and Oil Refinery setting a toxic backdrop which is simply always there and not being adequately monitored from our side.


    To this end, and as we did back in 2014, when La Linea was being targeted by the WHO as having worst air quality in Spain, we called for and continue to lobby for real-time monitoring in the north-western flank of Gibraltar, home to a growing residential area and increasing industrial activity. We have been discussing this with Government in recent weeks and call for action to be taken soon on the matter. People’s health and quality of life must be protected and we should respond to expert reports, such as that of the WHO, with appropriate and timely action.


    Gibraltar’s Renewable Energy Programme must gather pace over the next year or so with the current launch of the EcoWave pilot study, an indication that such technologies could soon be more prevalent and ease the load on our fossil fuel energy production. The ESG will continue to monitor and lobby for the cleaning up of our environment and welcome enquiries and questions on any of these issues to esg@gibtelecom.net. You can also visit our website esg-gib.net.

    Thanks for listening.