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    The ESG would like to inform the public that it has engaged in renewed, direct correspondence with the Ministry for the Environment on the question of air and noise pollution from the OESCO plant during the last six months. In the absence of any substantive replies the ESG has decided to make this issue public once again.


    It is well understood that production of energy today is a challenging and important issue for any community. Old, polluting technologies such as coal and oil fired power stations with their contribution to climate change is increasingly being seen as the pariah of choice for energy with their inefficiency, harmful emissions as well as greenhouse gas contributions. These power stations also tend to be extremely noisy and can cause chronic discomfort and health effects to all located nearby.

    With this background it is therefore easier to understand that power stations in Gibraltar have also been the focus of longstanding ESG campaigns. Gibraltar’s energy needs are currently met using diesel generators and while complying with EU directives on sulphur content, have not needed to comply with any other EU regulations that control air emissions due to their size. Noise levels in the south district have been unaddressed due to the presence of more than one power plant adjacent to Rosia Road. Independent studies as well as those done by the Environmental Agency have confirmed that noise levels breach several UK British standard limits with regards to noise.

    This issue has also been the subject of an in-depth investigation by the Ombudsman’s office in 2003 which led to a series of recommendations for technical improvements to be made to ameliorate the impact of the OESCO plant in particular. The investigation brought to light complaints of excessive and unbearable noise from the MoD Power Plant from as far back as thirty years ago!!

    Several issues also came to light such as the inability by the Environmental Agency and Govt to tackle the noise nuisance issue from OESCO due to the background noise emanating from the MoD Plant. The growing production of energy on the part of OESCO over the last 5 years in particular without stricter controls, noise insulation or electrostatic filters to cut back on particulates (black soot) has meant that the problem already felt from these generating stations thirty years ago, has only magnified with time.

    In light of the Chief Ministers recent statement on present and future power stations the ESG considers that Gibraltar is entitled to expect that:-

    · now that the Gibraltar Government will take over energy production for the MoD, the longstanding issue and inability to tackle noise and air emissions at Rosia Road will no longer apply. OESCO’s excuse that the MoD plant is a contributory factor but under separate management will now change. That Government advise when it intends to allow the Environmental Agency to issue abatement notices on OESCO to tackle its air and noise emissions as well as emissions from the MoD plant as they are required to under local law

    · when the Gibraltar Government constructs the replacement new power plant that it incorporates best available technologies and complies with Large Plant Directive. Furthermore that Government confirms the timescale for the completion of this project

    · consideration is given to alternative energy systems instead of diesel generators

    · Government considers all possible locations for the new power station. While the ESG supports the new location to be away from residential areas and on previously developed land (ie not a green area) that all possible options are considered which include :

    · given the likely delays for any new power station to be completed the public be assured that a promise made by the present GSD Government at the last election for noise insulation to be installed at OESCO will actually be carried out. This is long overdue

    · electrostatic filters be installed in funnels to eliminate air pollution from the power plants without further delay, as installed in other major power plants in Europe

    · given the critical issue of climate change and the need for action by all countries everywhere to take action locally that we embark on a voluntary (rather than EU driven) course of action in Gibraltar to reduce our emissions rather than the one we are on at present which is to double our emissions

    · Government implement changes to our grid to enable individuals to use renewable energy systems

    · Government introduce financial incentives such as waivers on import duties and “green grants” to provide encouragement on previous point. This would go a long way towards reducing our 100% reliance on a centralised fossil fuelled source for energy. That a timescale be given for when this action will be taken

    These local actions could reduce our C02 emissions and ultimately offer real help in combating climate change. These measures can also offer much needed relief to affected residents who live day to day with the offensive emissions and illegal noise from the existing power plants on the Rock and improve the overall quality of life for all.