Eurocámara: 160210 E-015330/ 2015 Cross-border air pollution in Gibraltar caused by Spanish oil refinery

Pregunta de Ashley Fox (ECR-Con)

Respuesta del Comisario Vella


Question 2 December 2015 A Fox (ECR-Con)

Subject: Cross-border air pollution in Gibraltar caused by Spanish oil refinery

In an answer provided to me on 14 March 2011 (E-000834/11 and E-00968/11), the Commission confirmed that the Spanish CEPSA oil refinery located close to Gibraltar in the municipality of San Roque did not meet the requirements of the IPPC Directive (Directive 2008/1/EC) concerning integrated pollution prevention and control.

Following proposals made to rectify the problem by the operator of the installation in question, the Commission said that it would continue to follow the situation on the ground and would investigate with the Spanish authorities the progress made in improving the operation of the installation.

Since then, my concerned constituents in Gibraltar have not heard anything further from the Commission about to the results of this investigation and the Commission has not confirmed whether or not it is now satisfied that the CEPSA oil refinery meets the requirements of EU legislation in this field.

The situation certainly does not appear to have improved given that in May 2014 the World Health Organisation reported that La Línea de la Concepción (the municipality which immediately neighbours San Roque) had the worst air pollution in Spain.

Can the Commission provide an update as regards the CEPSA oil refinery’s current level of compliance with any applicable EU environmental law?

Answer 2 February 2016 Commissioner Vella

As regards ambient air quality, according to the annual reports submitted by the Spanish authorities under Directive 2008/50/EC(1) on air quality, the EU mandatory limit values appear to be met in the air quality zone where the municipalities of La Línea de la Concepción and San Roque are situated (air quality zone Bahia de Algeciras, ES0104). Concerning the other air quality objectives, exceedances have been reported for the year 2014 of both the ozone Long Term Objectives for health and vegetation and of the target value for nickel in aerosol(2).

It follows from exchanges with the Spanish authorities that the CEPSA oil refinery has undertaken action to ensure compliance with its permit and implement the best available techniques to prevent or minimise pollution, as required by Directive 2010/75/EU(3) on industrial emissions (IED). The Commission has therefore not been in a position to establish a breach of EC law.

It should be noted that the national administrative and/or judicial bodies in charge of the implementation of the IED are primarily responsible to verify the situation and have the means appropriate to address the problem if the concerns are found justified.

(1)   OJ L 152, 11.6.2008, p. 1.

(2) (3)   OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 17.

160210 EP- Q Ashley Fox (ECR-Con) on cross-border air pollution in Gibraltar caused by Spanish oil refinery, A Com Environment Vella E-015330-2015.pdf