Climate change, air quality, raw sewage in our seas, the built and marine environment, as well as enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, are all central issues to reflect on every day and not just on World Environment Day. The GSLP/Lib Government have had 12 years in office to demonstrate their commitment to the green agenda and they have, by their own admission, failed in numerous areas. The Government talk up the work they do in protecting our environment by reference to the number of laws introduced but the quality of life for most citizens has been declining for many years. They have failed to address relatively minor issues which, when combined, could improve the lives of all of our citizens. The Government’s inertia and a lack of interest in improving our quality of life is staggering. The failure to place the environment at the centre of government policy from health care to planning demonstrates very clearly that the left hand does not know or even understand what the right hand is doing. What we are now seeing is a massive pre-electoral scramble to box-tick law- making and initiatives that were promised when the Government have had more than a decade to deliver real and strategic improvements.
On basic issues such as transport, the management of raw sewage or planning the Government has simply failed to deliver the big changes that would improve people’s lives and the quality of the environment.
There is a real lack of strategic joined up thinking and the Government have been playing lip service to the big environmental questions of the day. Green Gibraltar and the child friendly city is a failed policy and has been the principal victim of their inherent inability to prioritise.
It is inexcusable for the Government to have failed to build a sewage plant in 12 years despite it featuring prominently in every manifesto since 2011. As we have been at pains to say, the Government’s environment credentials will be judged on this failure alone and it reflects a shocking indictment of their time in office that they have failed to deliver a project.
Shadow Minister for the Environment, Elliott Phillips MP said:
“The GSD will have a robust strategy to place the environment at the centre of all policy development. Our manifesto will offer the public a progressive and radical programme for Government. We will lead with a pragmatic and sensible approach and make effective and achievable changes, some may be small and seem insignificant at the time, but the multiplying effect of these strategies combined with others over a period of time, will have a significant effect on improving our local environment. We will of course be mindful of the environmental issues like CO2, sea levels and the climate emergency, but our focus will be on how we improve the environmental conditions for our citizens at a day-to-day level in our streets, estates, neighbourhoods & districts in terms of cleanliness of our urban environment, air pollution, noise pollution, dog fouling, littering, pollution caused by commercial enterprises like construction etc. In our view an assessment of land use, planning, enforcement of environment laws, preservation of our natural and marine environment, air quality and radical changes in our public transport system are at the top of our agenda”