Eurocámara: 160701 E003967/ 2016 Pollution of Western Beach, Gibraltar

 

Question 12 May 2016 Molly Scott Cato (Verts/ALE)

Subject: Pollution of Western Beach, Gibraltar

I write further to my previous Written Question E-015252/2015 regarding the pollution of Western Beach in Gibraltar(1), which is reported to have been caused by wastewater pollution from municipalities located in Campo de Gibraltar County (including La Línea de la Concepción) in Spain.

The response from the Commissioner of 25 February 2016 suggests that the Commission is considering taking legal action on this matter, potentially by combining this case (of non‐compliance with an EU directive) with an ongoing pilot case dealing with other non‐compliant areas in Spain.

However, any further delay in the case of pollution on Western Beach is unacceptable. The Spanish Government has given assurances in the past that it has dealt with the discharge at Western Beach, which is clearly not the case.

Will the Commission now take specific action regarding pollution on Western Beach and in La Línea, by treating this infringement as a separate and individual infringement (rather than grouping it together with other Spanish instances of non-compliance with the relevant directive), on the basis that (a) the La Línea infringement has a cross-border element to it, and (b) it is a long-standing problem which needs to be quickly resolved?

 

Answer 1 July 2016 Commisioner Vella

The Commission considers that the alleged pollution in Western Beach is likely caused by the poor performance of the collecting system that serves La Línea de La Concepción and has therefore decided to treat it together with more than 200 other alleged cases of non-compliance with Directive 91/271/EEC(1) in a so-called horizontal approach. The Commission will therefore proceed by launching a so-called ‘horizontal case’, as a more systematic approach through addressing several agglomerations at once which is more efficient and equitable to address widespread problems.

It should also be noted that, according to Article 1, the objective of this directive is to protect the environment from the adverse effect of waste water discharges. In this sense, distinctions cannot be made on the basis of where the effect takes place, when referring to individual cases that can be horizontally grouped.

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