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GSD had ‘rubbish’ record on sewage, Govt says

Photo by David Parody

The Gibraltar Government hit back at the GSD for its criticism of the lack of sewage treatment facilities in Gibraltar.
This comes after the European Court of Justice recently ruled that the UK was in breach of its obligations because Gibraltar still discharged raw sewage into the sea.
The GSD slammed the government last week for its slow progress on building the required infrastructure, but yesterday drew a short and sharp response from No.6 Convent Place.
“The GSD say it is ‘shameful’ for this Government not to have awarded a sewage treatment contract after six years, so how would they describe their complete lack of action on this subject throughout 16 years in power?” the government said in a statement.
“After taking advice from experts and a great deal of planning, the Government repeats its intention to award the relevant contract later this year.”
Last week the government explained that part of the delay arose from the fact that Gibraltar uses sea water in its sewage system, which complicates the treatment process and has required detailed planning.
The latest exchange came as the Environmental Safety Group, which has campaigned on sewage issues since 2003, also renewed calls for swift action.
“The technical aspects for this facility have been studied and realised under the current administration and the group hopes that steps will now follow to set it up without further delay,” the ESG said.
“There is no question that this is an important environmental issue for Gibraltar that has to be resolved.”
The group also expressed that a parallel EU legal case relating to La Linea’s sewage discharge near Western Beach could also take years to resolve.
“This despite the immediate and highly impacting nature of the sewage contamination, which has directly polluted a public beach for the past seven years in a cross border situation,” the ESG said.
The group noted, however, that water quality at the beach had improved in the first few months of 2017, though it was not clear why or whether this would be a lasting change.
“The ESG will continue to press for progress on both local and cross-border water treatment facilities,” it said.

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