8th February 2019, 20:35
The Government has applied to the Development and Planning Commission for an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate for the proposed new Waste Water Treatment Plant. The EIA process found that there would be no major adverse environmental effects, but that there would be an impact on the landscape.
In considering the tourism context of the Europa Point site, the EIA notes that the lighthouse could potentially open to visitors in the near future. However, there's no confirmed timeframe.
The contract for the Rock's new sewage treatment plant was awarded in 2014, as a joint venture between the NorthumbrianWater Group and Modern Water.
It aims to ensure Gibraltar no longer spews raw sewage into the Strait, and that it's compliant with the EU's Urban WastewaterTreatment Directive. It's designed to serve the population of Gibraltar over the next 20 years.
The plans are for the plant itself to be built on the Brewery Crusher site at Europa Point, with the treated wastewaterflowing into the Strait as before. A pump station would be situated by Little Bay, with a transfer pipeline through KeightleyWay Tunnel. Access through the tunnel will be temporarily restricted during construction.
The consultation process involved a number of Government departments and environmental charities. The Environmental Statement, prepared by Ramboll, notes that there no likely significant adverse environmental effects on water quality, air quality and smell, geology or cultural heritage.
It adds that significant sludge waste will be produced, which will potentially affect local waste management facilities. Approximately 20 tonnes of so-called "sludge cake" will be produced a day, which will be transported to landfill in Spain. The Environmental Statement says alternatives to landfill disposal will be further explored, and emphasises that the overall project will prevent the discharge of raw sewage.
The statement notes that there will be some adverse effects to the landscape and look of the site, which could affect tourism. It adds this should be considered in light of the increased building at Europa Point, namely the students' and athletes' accommodation, the sports complex and the future waste management park. The design statement mentions some measures to match the Wastewater Treatment Plant to its surroundings in, for example, colour.
Members of the public have 21 days to inspect copies of the plans and make any representations. You can view them at the Town Planning offices or online at egov.gi.