Eurocámara: 160225 E­015252/ 2015 Spanish polluting spills into Western Beach, Gibraltar

Pregunta de M Scott Cato (Verts-ALE-Green)

Respuesta del Comisario Vella


Question 30 November 2015 M Scott Cato (Verts-ALE-Green)

Subject: Spanish polluting spills into Western Beach, Gibraltar

In answer (P­004804/2015), the Commission confirmed that it was aware of the pollution by sewage in bathing waters at Western Beach, Gibraltar, caused by the diversion of a storm drain in La Linea de la Concepcion, Spain, and claimed to have contacted the Spanish authorities to gather information.

In a previous answer (E­007377/2014), the Commission stated that it would follow up the Spanish authorities’ proposals to alleviate the problem, including a foreseen EUR 6.5 million investment to remove waste water from rainwater collection systems and ensure regular monitoring of discharge points.

The situation has not improved, and concern is escalating. According to the Bathing Water Quality Directive (2006/7/EC), the Member States must ensure that the quality of all bathing waters for the 2016 bathing season is at least ‘sufficient’. Data suggests that, unless the problem is resolved quickly, bathing at Western Beach will have to be prohibited for 2016.

Can the Commission confirm:

1.    Whether it has ascertained the steps taken by Spanish authorities to conduct necessary infrastructural works to alleviate pollution at this site and if so, what have these been?

2.    When it is envisaged that these works will be completed?

3.    Whether any EU funding has been granted to Spanish authorities for this project?

Answer 25 February 2016 Commissioner Vella

1. Municipalities located in Campo de Gibraltar County (including La Línea de la Concepción, the likely source of waste water pollution in Western Beach) signed an agreement with a Spanish public company in 2014 with a view to improving the urban waste water infrastructure in their territory. The Commission asked the Spanish authorities to provide detailed information on actions to be taken to reach at least ‘sufficient’ bathing water quality in Western Beach. 2. The 29 May 2015 reply of the Spanish authorities did not provide satisfactory answers to the Commission’s questions. 3. The general forecast of investment in this County, reflected in the aforementioned agreement, amounts to EUR 6.5 million. The Commission has no information about the source of this investment.4. In what concerns EU funding, the managing authorities of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes in Spain publish a list of selected projects. In the Operation Programme (OP) for Andalucía, a project titled ‘Saneamiento, depuracion y reutilización de agua residual regenerada en los municipios del Campo de Gibraltar: colectores de Algeciras’ is foreseen. The Commission has requested information as regards whether this project directly addresses the problem and whether other projects are foreseen to address it using structural funds.

Since the reply by Spanish authorities does not provide a satisfactory answer concerning the way forward to settle the pollution problems in Western Beach, the Commission is considering legal action to ensure that the agglomeration of La Línea de la Concepción complies with the collection and treatment requirements of Directive 91/271/EEC(1).

(1)   OJ L 135, 30.5.1991, p. 40‐52.

160225 EP- Q Molly Scott Cato (Verts-ALE-Green) on Spanish polluting spills into Western Beach, Gibraltar, A Com Environment Vella E-15252-2015.pdf