Hassans continues its long-term environment commitment as pro bono legal advisers to the Environmental Safety Group (ESG)

Hassans’ Partner David Dumas QC has been the ESG’s dedicated legal adviser for the work carried out by the Group, locally, and on Campo cross-border and international issues, for the last 14 years. This followed the decision by Senior Partner James Levy QC in 2002 to commit the firm to further the singular aim of bettering the environment, within and outside Gibraltar. Apart from providing legal advice and drafting and submitting paperwork, Hassans has also assisted in the funding the ESG’s many campaigns on practically every environmental issue.

The ESG is an NGO (non-governmental organisation) that was formed in 2000. It is a registered charity and works to promote environmental issues within the community. Concerns of air and water quality, pollution, preservation of our green areas, traffic, need for renewable energy, litter/recycling and climate change have been the focus of many ESG campaigns.

Media publicity erupted recently, recording the start of EU proceedings against the Spanish authorities which, amongst other issues, concerns the serious pollution of the bathing waters at Gibraltar’s Western Beach, immediately adjacent to the Spanish town of La Linea. This has put this popular beach out of use for a number of years, during which time the Environmental Safety Group (ESG) – led campaign has regularly monitored the dire situation and petitioning the EU with the continuing help of the Gibraltar Office in Brussels and the support of Sir Graham Watson.

In February significant flaring at the Spanish oil refinery hit the headlines. David Dumas QC comments:

“As the retained legal expert, I was engaged urgently on the ESG’s reaction to the Spanish oil refinery’s significant flaring in February which caused huge local outcry and concern. This entailed advising and drafting a public response (a rapid comprehensive reply is critical) and  also providing the necessary advice for submission to the European Commission – which was promptly presented in Brussels.

Flaring at the Refinery is a significant concern to our community and we will continue to strongly support ESG’s request that the relevant EU directorate addresses local environmental issues with some urgency, and will work with the Group to bring this to fruition.”

David has arranged and attended many ministerial meetings, encounters with successive Gibraltar MEP’s, as well as personally visiting the Refinery and meeting with experts at Barcelona University. He has travelled with the ESG’s Janet Howitt and other leading Group members and outside scientists to the European Parliament in Brussels and later Strasbourg to directly lobby the then Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas over the question of cross-border pollution caused primarily by heavy industry in el Campo area.

Janet Howitt, co-founder of the ESG, added:

“The commitment and assistance we have received from Hassans, and David Dumas in particular, over the last 14 years has been invaluable. We have a huge job to do but David and Hassans supporting at many levels, are as invested in the cause as we are, and that is critical to ensure we can keep persevering to help make Gibraltar and the regional environment a safer place for everyone.”