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UK and Gibraltar keep close eye on La Linea port project

A project to build cruise and superyacht infrastructure in the port of La Linea is being closely monitored by officials in the British and Gibraltar governments, amid concerns about a possible cross-border impact.

La Linea has long sought to capture a slice of this lucrative maritime sector and last month edged one step closer to its goal when Spain’s Ministry for the Environment ruled the scheme would have no major environmental impact.

In a resolution published in Spain’s official gazette late December, the ministry said the project was confined to the existing harbour in La Linea and its impact on the surrounding area and marine species would thus be minimal.

However its proximity to the border means UK and Gibraltar officials are keen to ensure that the project does not impact negatively on Gibraltar, both in its development and operational phases and particularly in respect of maritime and air traffic.

They will also want to avoid any infringement into British Gibraltar territorial waters in an area that has in the past proved a flashpoint for maritime incursions.

An area of La Linea’s port, which situated at the northern end of the Bay of Gibraltar close to the Rock, has already been developed as a yacht marina. The new project seeks to expand these facilities to accommodate superyachts and cruise vessels.

But the harbour basin is protected by a breakwater that juts out to sea from the area immediately below the frontier loop and partly infringes into British Gibraltar territorial waters, something that has proved controversial in the past.

“The UK Government has protested to Spain in the past over construction in this area,” a spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told the Chronicle.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will formally raise any further concerns about future development of the area with the Spanish government.”

A spokesman for No 6 Convent Place echoed that view and said the Gibraltar Government would seek to ensure the project complied with all relevant EU and international rules.

"Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar is fully aware of this proposed project and is already taking the necessary action to ensure that it is being carried out in accordance with applicable rules concerning all relevant aspects of the project, including the aeronautical safety aspects,” the spokesman said.


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