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  • ESG Radio Newsletter 14th November 2013

    In today’s newsletter we shall share with you some of the issues we consider important and of interest to our members and the public at large.

    In October Gibraltar saw the arrival of a team of EU inspectors; here to review the border problems with Spain. Apart from the obvious lack of traffic that day which although predicted, was nevertheless frustrating, they also overlooked the longstanding cross border environmental problems we have fought for so long to place on the map. The ESG published our views on this during their visit and also distributed our paper directly to MEPs, and to the local and UK Govt. We therefore welcomed meeting the MEPs visiting Gibraltar shortly after the inspection. We would like to advise that this has reaped dividends for the Rock as our submissions to the MEPs have now been translated into direct questions to the European Parliament by Sir Watson and to official letters to the Commission by Ashley Fox. We await replies and are ever hopeful for action, but at least we know that cross border environmental issues such as those affecting Western Beach and the chronic industrial pollution from the major petrochemical installations in the Campo area are also getting heard in Brussels at a time when much else is heavily politicised. We are grateful to the support from our MEPs.

    We found it astonishing that the Spanish authorities recently claimed to hold a clean bill of environmental health regarding the Campo area at the same time as alerts have been raised by Spanish NGOs as to how official monitoring standards of the industrial activity have lapsed due to financial cutbacks and how data is once again being provided by industry. This is a very serious matter which, supported by numerous articles and public statements, formed part of the submission we gave to the MEPs.

    See the next article for a video link of a visit by Denny Larson of the Bucket Brigade Movement to the Rock ten years ago – his informed comments describe a toxic chemical industry that has wide reaching impacts, and while the smoky emissions may have improved, we cannot allow the relaxing of standards on the less visible but equally harmful poisons crossing the fence line.

    On another matter, and closer to home, is the recent discussion at the Development and Planning Commission on the Sullage Tanks application and the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment. As we have urged for this assessment to be carried out, we welcome the fact that Minister Garcia, has now ruled that an EIA is necessary.

    Also at DPC this week was an application by another company for an underground fuel pipeline in the Port area. While deferred for future consideration this nevertheless raises questions. For instance: Past and present governments have confirmed their long-term interest in bringing fuel supplies onshore – where does this application fit in with that? Also the area concerned is rapidly becoming congested- with the new power station, lubricant oil farms, floating recreational parks, desalination water intakes all in the mix as well as day to day port activities. The ESG is formally approaching Government and the Port Authority for sight of a holistic plan of the area as this will be a critical tool in determining whether all proposed and existing activity can co-exist safely. This area now sees thousands of residents living alongside who could be adversely affected by any serious environmental impact resulting from poor planning decisions.