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Brussels analyses Western Beach sewage concerns ‘in detail’

Sewage leaks from La Linea that have in the past contaminated bathing water in Gibraltar’s Western Beach are being analysed “in detail” by the European Commission, Europe’s environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said this week.

Mr Vella said Spain had now responded to a letter of formal notice from the Commission over its failure to comply with EU directives on waste-water treatment.

Officials are now assessing that response before deciding any further steps.

Mr Vella made the statement in response to questions tabled in the European Parliament by Gibraltar’s Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, who had asked for an update on the infringement proceedings.

“In May 2017, the Spanish authorities replied to the letter of formal notice sent by the Commission for failing to comply with the requirements of Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment,” Mr Vella said.

“The Commission is currently assessing in detail the specific situation and the results of the treatment applied to the waste water in the agglomeration of La Linea de la Concepción.”

“A decision will be taken once the assessment for all the agglomerations included in this case is finalised.”

The Commission has in the past also taken action against Gibraltar for its lack of sewage treatment facilities.

The Rock’s sewage is pumped directly into the sea at Europa Point and the Gibraltar Government has previously acknowledged the need to address this urgently.

Last May, in the wake of a European Court of Justice ruling against the UK over sewage issues including in Gibraltar, the government said a tender had already been issued for the plant and a preferred bidder identified.

At the time, a government statement said “a full announcement” would be made “soon”.
To date however, the government has yet to release any further details on the progress of the project.

Yesterday a spokesman for No.6 Convent Place said: “The matter is still being actively pursued and information will be released in due course.”

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