ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY
The UN intergovernmental Panel on Climate change has warned we have only 12 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. Beyond this even half a degree will start to significantly threaten the future of humankind. No economic transformation, infrastructure development, or revolutionary education policy can give us prosperity if there is no future. Environmental sustainability, therefore, will be one of our core values and a policy priority, that underpins all of our proposals. Our environment is polluted, and Gibraltar is not pulling its weight in the global fight against climate change, and our commitments are not being followed through with decisive actions.
There is no more time to waste. We must act now.
All our policies will be based on scientific consensus and solid research, involving the local scientific community wherever possible.
Energy & Shipping
Gibraltar’s energy needs have been riddled with difficulties in the transition away from diesel and onto LNG, which to date has not happened fully. We will:
Ensure the LNG power station is made fully operational with the greatest urgency and decommission the old generating stations.
Investigate complaints concerning emissions from the dockyard and private enterprises in the port and increase the level of sanctions implemented for companies that break the law.
Work with the shipping industry to introduce greener practices, such as onshore and offshore power to vessels visiting our port and ensure that this is renewably sourced.
Implement regulations limiting black smoke emissions and minimum separation distances from the shoreline.
Phase out diesel bunkering in favour of LNG. The transition to more environmentally friendly bunkering methods will be incentivised and more competitive shipping activities phased in.
Transport & Vehicular Emissions
Transport in Gibraltar is an ongoing crisis with a profound impact on public health, the environment and our quality of life. We must adopt environmentally friendly practices and move towards a greener transport system. We will:
Put into action a comprehensive plan for greater pedestrianisation and the creation of a cycle lane network and improve our public transport network. We will look into introducing electric bicycle sharing schemes.
Invest in creating a suitable electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Where practical we will cover open-air car parks with solar panels, providing charging points for electric vehicles, as shown in our illustration in page [XX]. We will ensure that all car parks have an adequate number of electric vehicle charging points.
Substantially increase subsidies for the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles and bicycles. There will be a scaled implementation of a green tax on diesel and petrol vehicles to dissuade multiple vehicle ownership.
Create incentives for taxis to move away from fossil fuels and go electric/hybrid.
Reduce traffic outside schools by providing supervised clean school buses and no-idling policies of vehicles outside school areas. This will be supervised by Highway Enforcement Officers and enforced with fixed penalties. We will look into the feasibility of drop-off zones away from the school vicinity. Hedges around schools will be planted to shield children against emissions and pollution.
Transition the fleet of Government owned and Government company vehicles to electric power. Buses will be transitioned to electric or hybrid power, and filters will be fitted on their exhausts in the interim.
Marine life has been in sharp decline as a result of human activity for the last few decades. We will protect biodiversity and help improve the health of our seas with the following measures:
Actually delivering a new sewage plant as one of our top environmental priorities.
Develop a Heritage site/Marine Conservation Centre for the protection of marine life and for educational purposes.
Develop an Ecological Education Centre focusing on educating on the understanding of our ecosystems and their protection. This includes a research and Green Business focus.
The business community needs to lead on fighting plastic pollution, and we will help with the transition to non-plastic products. We will ban non-essential single-use plastics, introduce corporate social responsibility programmes for businesses that produce plastic products to manage correct disposal, comprising deposit return schemes and reverse vending machines. Civil service departments would lead by example by no longer allowing the use of single use plastic products.
Guarantee the sustainability of marine ecosystems by providing conditions for marine life to flourish. Bluefin tuna fishing quotas will be set according to the latest scientific research, and sources such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Fishing regulations will be enforced to all vessels fishing commercially in BGTW.
Base fishing policy on solid scientific research, involving the Department of the Environment, NGOs and the University of Gibraltar. This programme will assess and monitor our fishing stocks and advise on fishing policy accordingly.
Recycling & Waste Disposal
Waste disposal has always been a problem in Gibraltar. We export refuse to landfills in Spain and send over our recycling material while collection points for recycling are still deficient. Meanwhile a sewage treatment plant has been promised for the last two terms of government but never delivered, despite being fined by the EU for allowing a steady outflow of raw sewage into the sea. We will:
Improve and increase recycling facilities to ensure that wherever there are waste collection points waste can be disposed of for appropriate recycling.
Create increased public awareness of the correct way of recycling with sanctions for those found misusing recycling facilities.
Conduct a comprehensive review on best practices for handling Gibraltar’s waste and implement recommended changes.
Overdevelopment is having a substantial negative impact on people’s quality of life. We must strike a balance between the economic gains of development, the impact this has on the environment and on the physical and mental well-being of the community.
Together Gibraltar will implement a 10 Year Sustainable Development Plan which will include:
Conducting a thorough review of all projects pending approval, placing priority going forward on real infrastructure and housing needs, conservation of open and green areas and certain lines of sight.
Ensuring the use of sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly materials and methods.
Installing renewable energy infrastructure in all new construction projects.
The current Government’s environmental agenda is purely cosmetic. Gibraltar committed to reach a target of 20% renewable energy production by 2020 and yet we find ourselves languishing at less than 2%. We are embarrassingly short of our target.
Invest in a mix of technologies to best suit our renewable energy requirements.
Work with our local Environmental experts and University researchers to attract top scientists and green energy experts in order to develop the above.
Create renewable energy standards for new builds as well as facilitate and incentivise the installation of renewable energy infrastructure on existing builds.
Subsidise private installation of renewable energy infrastructure via grants that will be paid back with the energy surplus into the grid. Once the grant is repaid using the energy surplus it will be applied as a credit to the energy bill.
Roll out the installation of Smart meters to improve energy efficiency in buildings.
A Greener Gibraltar
If we are genuinely environmentally conscious, the quality of life of our community will improve immeasurably. We will:
Encourage vertical gardening and garden roofs with flora sympathetic to our wildlife to protect biodiversity.
Fund and support a Green Community programme where communities are offered space and finance in exchange for their input to develop neighbourly Green Areas and build community ties.
Update planning requirements so that a larger percentage of green areas (such as green roofs and vertical gardens among other spaces) are a requirement with all new builds.
Encourage cross border collaborative lobbying efforts regarding all polluting industry in the Campo area.
Install additional air monitoring equipment and make the information collected readily available to the public.
Significantly extend the provision of water fountains around Gibraltar.
Beaches will be monitored year-round to ensure they remain safe for bathing, including monitoring of water quality.
Promote cleaner streets by active policing of dog fouling, leading to effective enforcement of regulations and DNA testing.
Select Committee for the Environment
The creation of a cross-party Select Committee on the Environment will ensure we achieve our climate commitments. The Select Committee will:
Create and independent body of international climate change mitigation experts who will develop a roadmap for the implementation of our environmental strategy with the aim to achieve carbon neutrality.
Review target emissions as laid out in the Climate Change Act 2019 to ensure targets are provided annually rather than once in four years.
Update the public by publishing environmental data quarterly.
Artist impression of the Gibraltar International Airport with a cover for solar panels to provide charging points for electric vehicles.