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ESG highlights need to ensure community support for anti-pollution initiatives

The Environmental Safety Group highlighted the need for consensus and community engagement and support on any initiatives to reduce pollution on the Rock. 

The group was reacting after the Government announced a Budget measure to introduce a pollution tax for older vehicles, which was reversed within hours on Monday amid public outrage. 

“The ESG shares the community's concerns regarding the sudden and totally unexpected pollution tax on 10-year-old cars regardless of emissions and type announced by the Chief Minister on Monday,” the ESG said in a statement. 

“A lot has been said, the measure was reversed, but the situation understandably remains uncertain.”  

“As with the Line Wall Road closure, the ESG, campaigning for a healthier environment, at the time did not totally reject the idea behind the sudden decision of road closure to cars, but felt it needed far greater planning and delivered on a cross-party basis.”  

“Any measure to clean up our environment specifically from transport has been high on our agenda for years. This goes for road and marine transport.”  

“We believe the community needs to get behind the changes we need to make, once fully discussed and analysed, ideally via a public parliamentary select committee with input from experts and interested parties, to achieve a healthier environment.” 

“Decisions should, in our view, be made here and not announced via an annual budget.”  

The group said Gibraltar’s “very large carbon footprint” due to fossil fuel sales leads to raised pollution levels, and called for the “divestment of oil as an income stream in the longer term”. 

“The ESG have over the years pushed for urgent action to be taken on ageing vehicle fleets, especially in the commercial and industrial sectors where impacts are greatest.”  

“Our second-hand bus fleet has been a major concern for us as we continue to lobby for these to be replaced. We have pushed for best practice to be applied, through incentives, penalties and the setting up of appropriate economic support. These, surely should be priority for action.”  

“We want to see roadside pollution disappear.” 

“We want to see marine vessels clean up their activity.” 

“This will involve focus and analysis and we believe looking at emissions and fuel use would be a better place to start in cutting back on poisons in our environment.” 

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