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  • The ESG reports on working trip to Brussels and packed agenda for Denny Larson on recent visit to the Bay.

    On Brussels:-
    The ESG has returned from a working visit to Brussels where it was following up on its official complaint against unacceptable levels of pollution in the Bay. Many will be familiar with this work but may not know that 4 separate files have been submitted since November 2002.

    ESG representative, Janet Howitt, was accompanied by :
    QC David Dumas of Hassans, a firm long known for its support and contribution to the anti-pollution campaign;
    Denny Larson, Global Community Monitor and leader of Bucket brigades worldwide;
    Professor Benach, of University Pompeu, Barcelona who has worked on mortality rates in Spain producing studies since 2001.

    The public may be interested to know that this trip incurred costs in excess of £2,000.00 which the ESG had to meet with the help of funds raised last year through the community. However, the group decided that a trip to Brussels with the support of three experts was an excellent use of ESG funds. It now appeals to the community again for donations to help the group continue in its work and air sampling programme. The result from the meetings in Brussels with high level attorneys was a deeper understanding of the Bay environment and public health crisis; the ESG presented reports on the repeated failure by the Spanish authorities, in this instance, to address the concerns raised by communities on both sides of the border that environmental protection is not being practised, and certainly not to EU norms and standards.

    The ESG had filed a complaint directly with the charge that benzene emissions, particularly fugitive emissions (ie not from the stack), were not being controlled or monitored. This charge has been taken up by the EC legal department who has requested Spain to comply immediately with its directive 2000/69, on providing benzene monitoring data to the public. The deadline for Spain to respond is the 19th July.

    The Commission lawyers also advised the team to contact the European Parliament who would likely take up this issue on a cross border basis, with existing material. This is now underway. Furthermore, action at criminal court level was also suggested, this is also being looked at by the groups’ legal adviser, David Dumas.

    Back in the Bay the BBB joined Denny Larson in giving presentations again reiterating how bucket sampling can help active campaigns. (see photos)

    Public Meetings in Gibraltar and Spain

    The public meetings held on the 4th and 5th of July gave the communities a chance to hear, firsthand, about the outcome of the EC lobbying and an update on where the campaign to reduce pollution goes from here. The ESG knows that many people in Gibraltar and Spain care deeply about these issues with many also affected directly through illness or loss of family members. The group wishes therefore to inform those who did not attend the meetings that real progress and real work is being done by the campaigners and that the fight is far from over. The intention is to ensure that all industrial and commercial activities both here and in Spain are done to the highest possible standards. The group reasserts that it will not desist from its objectives until such standards are in evidence and the improvement of health in our communities and better protection of our environment is achieved.