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  • New Power Station, Dust and Sea Salt

    9th June 2010

    The ESG responds to the Government statement on salt and dust being the prime problems on air pollution on the Rock with some incredulity.

    It is absolutely clear to anyone close to the power stations in Rosia Road and Gib V area that air and noise emissions from these are extremely heavy and intolerable.

    To support these concerns further, the ESG looks at documentation published by Government agencies in preparation for the new replacement power station. These documents are posted on the Environmental Agency website. On the Decision Paper, page 25, you will see a graph (Table C1), stating the high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NOX) at various hotspot sites and how these will radically decrease, indeed virtually disappear, on closure of offending stations.

    Alongside this pollutant are others like particulate matter, or dust and smoke as referred to by the Minister of the Environment, also produced in the burning of oil for fuel, and which, combined with NOX, creates a harmful environment for humans.

    Clearly sea salt and sand dust must be present in our environment given our geographical location. Construction dust will certainly play a role too. However, as to the reasons given by the Minister that it is these sources that are responsible for driving our levels of PM10’s over the legal limit, we do not accept this and would expect Govt to support this explanation by publishing all details of its studies.

    Among Governments data sources to substantiate their theory of Sands from the Sahara is the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente in Spain. It is well known that the ESG has researched, analysed and challenged the quality of this data source with respect to the “legal” limits of emissions by Refinery et al in the Bay. We would therefore wish to see published all data material which Government is working from to make such assertions to the EU that we are complying with safe legal levels.

    The fact that our Government is accepting the data given to them from Spain of natural PM10 levels and sources to explain the exceeding of the limits means therefore that they must also accept that the Campo is exposed to the same levels of natural particulates and yet they have not exceeded the legal limits. Which can only mean one of two things, either that the data being supplied by Spain is flawed or alternatively that the air around the industrial complex in the bay is actually less polluted than the air in Gibraltar when natural sources of pollution are subtracted.

    This doesn’t fit in with what we believe to be the case. Either scenario is bad news for Gibraltar and our quality of life.

    However, and at risk of repeating ourselves, the main issue here is that many thousands of local residents are suffering the ill effects from our three ageing power stations which are known to produce higher than permissible levels of NOx and PM10’s and call for a straightforward answer and commitment from this Govt on when a replacement station will be fully operational once and for all.