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  • ESG reacts to news from Brussels


    18th March 2011

    In what can only be seen as a milestone in our campaign to clean up the CEPSA Oil Refinery the recent response from the EU Commissioner to questions from MEP’s Ashley Fox and Graham Watson are strongly welcomed by the ESG. The Commissioner states that certain shortcomings at the plant have been identified as non-compliant with its IPPC certification.  While these shortcomings are receiving some attention by the operator via ongoing investments and future improvements, the EC will nevertheless continue to follow the situation on the ground and will periodically check progress with the Spanish authorities. This is the action we have called for for some years now and to finally see it happen is quite an achievement.

    A combination of public pressure, support from international experts, and sustained guidance and representations from David Dumas QC of Hassans, have played an important part in getting us here. In particular, the actions taken by our MEP’s since 2006 have assisted in our being heard in the huge establishment that is the European Commission. Neil Parish gave considerable support to our campaign and this has been picked up and carried on to a new level by Graham Watson.

    The ESG has always maintained that the petrochemical plant in the heart of the Bay has been run to the ground, operated at dangerous levels and posed significant health risks to Bay communities. “We have never accepted what the authorities or industry has told us for years: that pollution levels are within the norms and legal limits. It is therefore heartening and a great relief to hear our concerns vindicated at EU level at long last,” said a spokesperson for the group.

    The ESG will continue to monitor the situation and press for accelerated change at CEPSA which has recently been bought outright by a Sovereign Wealth Fund from Abu Dhabi. It will also be interesting to see how this new ownership will respond to pressure from Brussels.