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  • ESG Radio Newsletter 7th May 2015

    Radio Broadcast – Key words: elections, air pollution, LNG, bunkering, DPC

    With UK elections looming – much focus is being given to issues like the NHS and Immigration, cost of living and cutbacks – Important though these obviously are, it is quite worrying how the environment, pollution and climate change are hardly being given a mention.

    Increasingly however, one reads more and more medical reports linking health problems to air pollution, with an article in today’s Guardian claiming it to be more costly to the NHS, around 15bn pounds per year, than obesity and alcoholism combined, and yet this is not seemingly addressed, with the UK failing to meet EU standards on air quality.

    In Gibraltar, we too are failing to meet air quality standards on a number of pollutants, which will be having a bearing on our community. Two key factors affecting air quality locally is power generation and traffic. On the first we can see some movement as preparations move forward at the North Mole. However, there is no completion date in sight – indeed there are a number of technical challenges facing Govt, which are being addressed, but on this count, we are still some years off from removing the present polluting load from the existing power stations and generators. The ESG is holding a series of meetings with technical experts involved in the new generating station to share our concerns and ideas. The LNG question remains pending and this will also be influencing progress. The Traffic Implementation Plan has not yet seen the light of day even though measures are popping up here and there. Clearly major steps need to be taken to reduce the negative impacts from traffic significantly.

    Another issue growing at present is that of bunkering fumes. We have received a number of reports from the Waterport Terraces area and have directed people to contact the relevant authorities. ESG Committee members only this week took a boat ride in the harbour and experienced very strong smells in the vicinity of the mother vessel berthed at the detached mole. We shall be following this up directly with all relevant authorities, as it is really important to safeguard our quality of life as well as our health. With summer upon us such fumes are exacerbated and people need to keep their windows open at home.

    The ESG hopes that informed and factual debate will form the basis for discussions during Gibraltar’s elections and that the environment will feature highly. We hope to see NGO’s holding such public discussions so that the community can also hear what the issues are and potential solutions, and not only whose fault it is in the past or present: The present heritage debate on the upper town, being a case in point.

    On other matters last months Planning meeting was an interesting one with May’s proving to be equally so. The date for the next meeting is set for 20th May at 9.30am. Its possible that Marina Bay apartments and super yacht application will feature as well as other significant projects. Please note that agendas are posted online at the DPC website a week beforehand, and most importantly if you are lodging an objection, and wish to address the Commission, that you must do this in writing and as soon as possible.

    If you would like further information about the ESG and what we do, please contact us via email: esg@gibtelecom.net , visit our website at: esg-gib.net or call 200-48996.