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Cortes explains emissions targets

Carbon emissions from power generation are falling, even before the impact of LNG replacing diesel kicks in, GSLP/Liberal Alliance candidate Dr John Cortes said yesterday as he set out how the party plans to progress on reduction of carbon if re-elected.

Dr Cortes was speaking at a press briefing – the first of two on the GSLP/Libs environmental policies – in which he set out progress so far as well as targets to meet over the next four years and beyond.

He told reporters that the environment is now at the frontline of politics and said this was something he could only have dreamt of nine years ago.

He also demonstrated how there already exist strategic analyses and plans with measures to continue to reduce the carbon footprint.

Dr Cortes said: “Power from LNG in the MAN engines at the new north Mole Power station results in 44% less carbon dioxide than diesel. It also reduces particle emissions to almost zero, sulphur dioxide by 99% and nitrogen oxides by 90%.”

“At the same time, Waterport power station is now mostly switched off, and the two South District power stations are no longer in use.”

These measures have reduced pollution from power generation drastically, he said.

Dr Cortes said the previous GSD administration had to ask the EU for a derogation from air quality standards in order to avoid heavy fines and so were allowed to exceed EU safety limits between 2010 and 2014.

Their diesel power station would not have solved the problem and Gibraltar would have incurred millions of pounds in fines when the derogation ended in 2015, he added.

But, he said, in 2018 Gibraltar was below EU limits in 2018, even before LNG – something he put down to the GSLP/Liberals’ energy and air quality strategy.

“The GSLP/Liberals are now continuing the move in pushing ahead with solar power initiatives. Already the equivalent of 350 flats are powered by solar, and this is about to jump by more than five times that in the next twelve months.”

“Moves to electric vehicles, including buses, and the encouragement of walking and cycling by providing cycles lanes, and the north-south Walk the Wall initiatives as well as the rolling out of the STTPP will now serve to reduce the next challenge to air quality: traffic,” he said adding that the greening of Gibraltar with seven parks will contribute to this too.

“Shipping is also being tackled with legislation ready which will control black smoke from ships, a move to onshore power to avoid ship engines running whilst in Port, reassessing of no-anchoring areas on the SW, and adoption of International Maritime Organisation regulations on fuel for ships immediately they are introduced within months.”

“Practices at Gibdock will not be allowed to impact negatively on the surroundings, with alternative plans for recreational use of the site included in the Manifesto if agreement cannot be reached with Gibdock.”

Part two of the environment press conference will be held next week and will deal with other environmental issues including Biodiversity, nature protection, dogs and animal welfare, green areas and fishing.

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