Together Gibraltar has become adept at selectively picking convenient points in preparing its public statements, and they seem not to check their facts.
Their latest one on the environment is an example. Together Gibraltar is aware, but makes no mention of the administrative difficulties, totally outside the Government’s control, that have delayed progress on the treatment of sewage. It fails to recognise that bunkering in Gibraltar is now carried out with great care for the environment, with no significant impact on the environment from this source having been recorded recently. Pollution from traffic remains a problem which, although not easy to solve, continues to be tackled. Progress on renewables continues, although like so much else it took a blow during the COVID-19 lockdown when supplies could not get to Gibraltar. This is now picking up and results will be seen soon. At the same time Waterport Power Station is now only on standby mode, being used minimally as North Mole LNG Power station bears the brunt of power generation.
There is absolutely no ‘wanton destruction’ of trees. And it is simply not correct to say that planting of replacement trees is simply political noise! Over the past nine years there had been a considerable net increase in the number of trees in Gibraltar, a process that will continue. Every possible step is taken in order to prevent the need to remove trees, and there are thorough expert assessments of all trees that need work done to them. When these are removed, wherever possible they are transplanted, and if that is not possible due to the trees’ condition, for example, they are always replaced with others. Indeed, legislation just published will further tighten the enforcement of the Environment (Protection of Trees) Act, which this Government introduced.
Progress on the environment continues in the background, even if other issues, notably COVID-19 and Brexit have stolen the limelight. Improvement to natural habitats and the creation of new green areas are examples, and the Government will shortly release figures that will clearly demonstrate the success of its measure to improve air quality.Further progress on greening Gibraltar, sadly delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be seen very soon.
Minister for the Environment, the Hon John Cortes, said: “Together Gibraltar simply have no idea, or appreciation, of the hard work being done by public servants in monitoring and improving the environment, be it out at sea or in their persistent approach to tree protection. Their ranting criticism of everything that they think is topical, while conveniently ignoring all the positives, is typical of their immaturity.”