Tuesday, July 19, 2005

ESG return from working trip to Brussels

Environmental Safety Group (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.”

ESG representative, Janet Howitt, was accompanied by lawyer David Dumas QC of Hassans, Denny Larson, leader of Bucket brigades worldwide and Professor Joan Benach of University Pompeu, Barcelona who has worked on mortality rates in Spain producing studies since 2001.

An ESG spokesman said:

“Many will be familiar with this work but may not know that four separate files have been submitted since November 2002.

The public may be interested to know that this trip incurred costs in excess of £2,000 which we 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.

They now appeal to the community again to help them continue their 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.

We 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 normns and standards.”

The ESG had filed a complaint directly with the charge that benzene emissions, particularly fugitive emissions (i.e. 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 today 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.”

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