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  • ESG Views on Europa Point venue for Stadium 11/03/14

    ESG Press Release on Europa Point and Football Stadium   11th March 2014

    Key elements – Landscape – Carbon Footprint – Traffic issues – Community Amenity – Tourist Value – Renewable Energy – Sewage Treatment Plant – Impact on UNESCO bid – Alternative Site –

    The ESG has also studied plans for the proposed football stadium at Europa Point and considers it to be a far from ideal location.  In environmental terms, the stadium would radically transform an open, peaceful area important for both tourism and the local community. This brutal conversion cannot, in our view, be softened by any redesign. The group also agrees with the Heritage Trust and the many voices from our community, that another site must be found.


    Apart from the impact on the special landscape at Europa, the matter of mobilising thousands of people to and from the border right across Gibraltar, using our already busy roads raises serious concerns. Several key roads would need to be closed for long periods on a match day and the knock-on effects on other road systems would be significant. Add to this an unpredictable border and these suddenly become important issues that will have a major bearing on whether the logistics, however well planned, are executable.  The pollution created by the large numbers of large diesel buses would be highly problematic, particularly within the Dudley Ward tunnel system.


    Moving on to the actual stadium the ESG is also concerned about its carbon footprint, during construction and once operational. Water consumption alone will be significant, especially if real grass is to be used. The group also urges that rainwater collection and renewable energy technology is built into the basic design to meet the stadiums energy requirements and to offset part of its footprint created by the high volume of fresh water needed to support the grassy terrain.


    Europa Point will also see a Sewage Treatment Plant built near the Mosque that could produce some smell, however well controlled. The two GSM antennae currently placed at the furthermost point near the lighthouse would require moving with these possibly relocated to the top of the new stadium, potentially causing health and safety concerns.


    Another matter for consideration is how a large stadium such as that proposed will impact on the special coastal area contained within the UNESCO bid. This includes Gorham’s Cave.


    The ESG understands the heavy weather conditions at Europa Point are influencing the design of the proposed stadium as well as the materials that can be used. As well as the sea spray and intense sunshine there is always a constant strong breeze/winds prevalent in the area. Littering associated with large-scale events poses a significant environmental hazard by way of lightweight rubbish being blown into the surrounding seas.


    There is insufficient information as to why alternative sites such as the Victoria Stadium, or the East Side reclamation cannot be used instead. It is hoped that the East Side location will be given the utmost consideration, as it is widely believed to meet the needs of a new football stadium. Even though there will likely be an additional time period involved before completion, if the east side replaces Europa Point, the benefits to Gibraltar as a whole are very significant and worth the wait. The ESG believes the GFA should be offered a design based on this site. An alternative “home” stadium in Portugal would need to be implemented during this interim period.

    The ESG hopes that as landlords, the Gibraltar Government, will respond to the many concerns raised by the ESG and others in the community and agrees to offer the GFA an alternative site.