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    ESG Press Release 15th October 2010


    It’s absolutely staggering that we are informed via the local press that we, as citizens, are now facing increased air and noise pollution as well as a hike in personal costs with regards to electricity production in Gibraltar. The ESG considers this development as an outrage, especially as no investment in environmental protection has been mentioned and the operator should be expected to bear at least part of the increased costs of production out of its operating profits and not just pass it on to the consumer.

    For readers who may not know, it seems that the predicted increase in energy demand, which has been common knowledge for years, cannot be met by existing, highly polluting generation and requires another short-term measure of additional capacity using an increasingly expensive fuel- Guess what? Costs both in the pocket, health and quality of life are to be borne by us, the citizen. Word in the community is that we could be facing power cuts – is this supposed to pave the way for additional capacity and the extra pollution and costs to be suffered by the taxpayer?

    All of this has been forecast by the ESG, and the urgency for the replacement power station, albeit using old technology, never more apparent than it is today. In 2007 aging industries and practices were to be finally called in under European Law, due to the deadline of the IPPC having arrived. What happened then was that Gibraltar went through the motions of assessing OESCO, as the relevant installation, for necessary compliance to be given a new operating licence. The assessment was fairly damning though and advised that a licence would be issued conditional to various measures being met.

    The conditions with regards to air emissions in particular were never addressed- indeed the ESG was instead given platitudes by Government that with a new power station round the corner, in 2010, it was unreasonable of us to expect either Government or OESCO to fork out for mitigation measures (to clean their act up basically). We were fed assurances that the new Power Station would receive maximum urgency by this Govt.

    Apart from a fumbling judicial review which may have delayed the process for a while, and also ended up costing taxpayers serious monies (we have no details) construction of the replacement plant has not begun in earnest. The ESG asks what is going on?

    The community of Gibraltar deserves better. The ESG demands that Government gives a public statement on exactly what is going on with our energy production and plans for replacement power station and show in this way that it is accountable to the people of Gibraltar.

    We also demand that in this latest expansion to electricity capacity at OESCO that the plant is also made to comply with its IPPC certification which it is not currently doing and ask whether a separate certification will be issued. We also ask that OESCO or whichever company ends up operating the plant should meet the costs of pollution control and at least part of the increase (no doubt from time to time) of operating costs.