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    Full text of the Commissioners response:
    Answer given by Mr Potoènik on behalf of the Commission

    As regards the ambient air quality in Gibraltar (United Kingdom), the latest data submitted by the United Kingdom for the year 2009 shows that the air quality zone is in compliance with all the pollutant limit values laid down in Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air and cleaner air for Europe with the exception of the annual limit value for NO2. This exceedance however does not constitute a breach of the Directive as such as the limit values for NO2 are applicable since the 1 January 2010 only.

    With respect to the Honourable Members question whether the CEPSA facility’s emissions affect the air quality in Gibraltar, the Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to the air quality action plan prepared by the government of Gibraltar which includes a source apportionment of PM10 and NOx

    According to Article 25 of Directive 2008/50/EC, in case a limit value is exceeded due to a significant amount of transboundary pollution, Member States have to cooperate in order to remove such exceedances. The Commission, therefore,
    welcomes that the United Kingdom’s authorities have initiated discussions and cooperation with the Spanish authorities on the basis of data exchange.

    Furthermore, mineral oil and gas refineries are covered by Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). Starting in 2007, facilities covered by E-PRTR and releasing pollutants exceeding the reporting thresholds contained in Annex II of the Regulation have to report their emissions annually to the register. These data are made available to the public on the E-PRTR website, including data submitted by the Spanish authorities for the installation in question.
    Moreover, the Commission contacted the Spanish authorities and launched an investigation regarding the implementation of Directive 2008/1/EC concerning integrated pollution prevention and control (the IPPC Directive)[5] in the case of the installation in question.  Findings to date suggest that certain shortcomings presently exist for the installation but that action is being taken to rectify this situation. 

    Information collected by the Commission indicates that the operator, under guidance from the competent authority, is investing in improvements to the installation with further investments planned in the coming years. Such investment includes further actions to fully implement best available techniques to prevent or minimise pollution as required by the IPPC Directive. The Commission has also been made aware that the actions identified in the major audit of this site carried out in 2008 by the competent authority are being incorporated into the permit of the installation.

    The Commission will continue to follow the situation on the ground and will investigate with the Spanish authorities the progress made in improving the operation of the installation over the coming months.