Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar is confounded with the lack of acknowledgement and ignorance shown by the GSD following their statement on the recently announced Pilot Road closures.
The Chief Minister explained during his Press Conference of the 4th May that as part of the Unlock the Rock strategy, Line Wall Road would be closed as from the 1st June 2020. The Pilot Schemes as stated, will form part of a plan to give open spaces back to people by reducing unnecessary traffic; which will in future offer new realms of enjoyment for pedestrians and their families and commuting and leisure cyclists alike.
The Government notes that the GSD have failed to set out in their statement that they have been consulted by HM GoG and have agreed and supported the initiatives.
As the Chief Minister expressed and yet again the GSD appear to have failed to have taken on board, HM GoG is set out to undertake a full and detailed consultation process in parallel with the Pilot closures, which shall involve relevant stakeholders and members of the general public.
Additionally, the Chief Minister has announced that he will be inviting Ms Marlene Hassan Nahon to share her party’s ideas on this issue, as a similar idea was included in her election Manifesto of 2019. The Leader of the GSD will also be invited to share his party’s ideas as part of this consultation.
The Minster for Transport, Hon Vijay Daryanani said: “Everyone is clear that we have to take the good out of the paralysis the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on Gibraltar and the world. One of the few advantages is the reduction in pollution. We have to be ready to make the most of that. So as we restart and recover, we must do so in a way that preserves the good. If we go back to our old ways, with huge traffic flows through Line Wall etc, we will be back to square one. So we will consult and we will improve. But we will also be bold and we will be the ones leading on this initiative that years from now our opponents will say was long overdue. We have agreed the closure of Line Wall Road and Chatham Counterguard in principle with Mr Azopardi. We already have plans I explained for a park and ride. So I think the GSD’s statement is unfair but what is worse, I think it is unambitious and fails to see that we have to act now and not kick these issues back into the long grass where they have been for too long. It is right for us to act. We cannot make this omelette without breaking eggs and we have the courage to do so and be judged on our actions. This shows our real commitment to reduce pollution and reduce car use. The position of the GSD suggests that they are much less pro-active in their approach to the protection of the environment going forward as they have been in the past. For us in the GSLP Liberal Government, this is a great opportunity to take a huge step forward to deliver another limb in our Green Gibraltar initiative, bringing us closer to being a Child Friendly City.”