Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Partido Andalucista voice objections to Eastside Development

EU environmental regulations * House to debate transboundary consultation bill

Spanish regional opposition group the Partido Andalucista has urged the Junta de Andalucia to lodge an objection with the Gibraltar Government in respect of the Eastside development and reclamation project. (See related links below).

The PA wants the Rock’s authorities to paralyse the works “until an environmental impact assessment has been carried out.”

The move comes just a few days before the House of Assembly is due to debate amendments to the Pollution Prevention Control Ordinance, which includes a section on transboundary consultations and exchange of information, in our case with Spain, where “the operation of an installation is likely to have significant negative effects on the environment” of another EU member state.

This would also apply in respect of a project on the other side likely to have negative effects on the environment in Gibraltar.

Under the amendment, there are provisions for consultation to be initiated at the request of either side, and as far as it is applies to Gibraltar, for the official forwarding of information regarding the project to another member state, at the same time as this is made available to persons in Gibraltar, namely a non-governmental organisation promoting environmental protection.

The fact that a decision is subject to a national or transboundary consultation or
environmental impact assessment will be made public by the relevant local authority.

Antonio Moreno Olmedo - Member for Cadiz of the Partido Andalucista in the regional parliament
Meanwhile Antonio Moreno, PA member of the regional parliament has already formulated questions to the government in Seville, and has expressed concern that the Eastside project could have damaging effects on the environment and lead “to a loss of sand by the beaches on the La Linea side.”

Sr Moreno who wants the Junta de Andalucia to make representations to the Madrid Government and to the European Union, said a subsequent regeneration of the beaches would be a financially costly exercise.

Environmental groups such as Grupo Ecologista Verdemar - Ecologistas en Accion, have expressed similar criticisms against the Eastside development and have spoken in terms of “an irreparable damage to the coastline.”

ESG call for Impact Study

Meanwhile the local Environmental Safety Group (ESG) has called for an environmental impact assessment into the Eastside Development project and other developments in the pipeline.

In reply to Chronicle questions ESG spokeswoman Janet Howitt said:

“We reiterate that we will continue to campaign for issues such as an up to date development plan for Gibraltar (prior to any more permissions issued for new developments), and an environmental Impact Assessments to be carried out on both private and government developments.

There is a need for sustainable development incorporating renewable energy systems and green technologies. There is also a need to allow green areas and spaces in all new developments, as well as ensuring that no existing green areas in Gibraltar are lost in the building process.

We are concerned that many of the proposed developments do not currently meet any sustainable technology standards. Where resources and opportunities allow, the ESG has and will continue to present its objections on environmental grounds to any future developments it believes would seriously affect our natural and living environment or be unnecessarily polluting.

Given the already severe load on our infrastructure and roads, the group also considers that radical enlargement of our developed areas could disrupt our lives even further.”

Related Articles and Links:

UNECE Protocol on SEA

European Union (EU) Directive on SEA (2001/42/EC) - transboundary consultations

27 January 2005 - Reactions in Spain - Juarez calls for environmental study into Eastside Project

26 January 2005 - Eastside Development first step taken for £1 Billion project


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