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    ESG Radio Newsletter Thursday 14th October 2010

    On the cards today are topical issues on the environment which I know many of you follow and are deeply interested in-

    The first is our

      power generation stations and renewable energy

    – where are we going with this in Gibraltar? Last nights Newswatch reported that Govt is now contemplating harnessing wind power as the best option to meet the renewable energy target under EU law, but this to happen some years ahead. For some time now we had understood we needed to meet a percentage imminently – has this changed? Or are we changing plans once again?

    Furthermore, it was regrettable to hear that Govt was not prepared to discuss this issue in public, ie end of story. This is not acceptable. Modern communities, democracies and indeed Freedom of Access to Environmental Information under EU law, demands that any project, plan or activity which has a direct impact on the environment and hence on the citizen, has to be transparent and publicly shared.

    We go further and remind Government that climate change is a critical issue which demands cross party unity and community support and co-operation if we are to successfully meet the challenges ahead- the community therefore needs to be part of the solution and decision making process and should be carefully informed about the intentions of how our authorities plan to steer us towards a cleaner and more responsible future.

    What the message given yesterday suggests is that the present Government has no real intention of acting on renewable energy systems for Gibraltar in the foreseeable future and this is reprehensible. Postponement of such action will place the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of our grandchildren who currently look up to us as their protectors. We are not meeting their expectations rather, continuing in the business as usual mode which is not where we should be.

    On the question of power stations and additional engines and fuel costs- this has absolutely floored us, we cannot believe this latest development and will be releasing a statement outlining our thoughts and position on this tomorrow.

    This last fortnight the ESG received calls and emails from members of the public affected by various activities around the Rock- These complaints are not made lightly and people are usually extremely agitated and upset at the time. Calls are usually about power station fumes, bunkering fumes, sewage smells, noise pollution from 24hr activity etc.

    While we attempt to help the callers by providing information or advising who they should contact, the extent and variety of these problems remind us of the fact that Gibraltar is still waiting for an Action Plan on the Environmental Charter signed by the Gibraltar Government several years ago, which would set out rules and timelines to rein in heavily impacting activities that affect our peace of mind, health and quality of life. Yes, it matters to us all.

    Without such a plan we shall continue to see all these activities grow without adequate restrictions in place- just look at our power stations for example. It must be said that bunkering fumes and noise must also be tackled by our authorities- we refer complainants every week to the Port Authority and Environment Agency- truth is not sufficient feedback is received and no real action taken suggesting that more radical steps are needed. In fact, the only radical news we get is that bunkering industry is to increase!! But where, we ask, are the efforts to reduce environmental impacts from this activity?

    Finally, let’s talk sewage– again on Newswatch last night, the fact that Western Beach is now closed due to sewage pollution which we warned would happen back in April-

    This flagrant breach of public health and environmental laws at a cross border level by the Spaniards has to be challenged by our authorities. And if not by citizens. The ESG is hoping to meet with the Chief Minister soon who has assumed responsibility for this issue- and we will then decide how to approach this problem.

    More news soon- thanks for listening-

    www.esg-gib.net esg@gibtelecom.net

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