EU countries no longer able to request information from Gibraltar authorities for traffic offences, Parliament hears; other topics covered include Government housing stock, Chilton Court, Traffic and St Martin’s School
There are 11 flats in the Government’s rental stock ready for allocation and 28 currently being refurbished. 40 properties have been categorised as being beyond repair with these to go out to tender. 92 form part of the Urban Renewal Project.
One of the estates in the planning process for a major refurbishment is Chilton Court, where 50 extra parking spaces are to be constructed under a renovated leisure area; 80% of these will be for use by tenants. Of the two sponsored projects for this estate, the second consists of a tenant’s club and stores.
Questions moved to transport and travel, where it was revealed that electric motorbikes and cars on the Rock add up to under 1%, with petrol fuelled vehicles in the majority. When it comes to commercial vehicles, diesel is the fuel of choice on 66.37%.
On e-scooters and in answer to a question by Opposition member Elliott Philips, the Transport Minister explained that although he did not see insurance becoming mandatory, the Government was considering a requirement of 3rd party liability. Paul Balban said it first needed to be established whether this would be available locally. He added insurers were keen to ensure there was enforcement of the requirements under the 2020 command paper, which include the use of helmets.
In the past five years, 416 requests for identification of owners or drivers of cars alleged to have committed a road traffic offence in an EU country have been made to the Gibraltar authorities. After Brexit and as from January last year, Gibraltar only facilitates this information to the UK, who would then be free to pass it on. Gibraltar has made no reciprocal requests, with the Chief Minister speculating this could be because Gibraltar has on-the- spot fines for tourists, which would make requests for assistance unnecessary.
On the environment, Minister John Cortes told Parliament there had been 46 Fixed Penalty Notices issued for littering offences so far this year. Of these, 22 were paid, 12 passed on for prosecution and 10 cancelled. 450 warnings have been issued. Elliott Philips highlighted the problem of cigarette butts thrown on the floor, especially opposite the hospital.
This year too, 145 samples of dog fouling have been analysed. 12 fines have been issued and 15 Fixed Penalty Notices have been handed out to owners whose dogs are unlicensed.
St Martins School
And, following what John Cortes, as Minister for Education, described as the ‘recent, unpredictable’ increase in pupils at St Martin’s School, he told Parliament the Government was reviewing ways to handle capacity at St Martin’s School and said one of the possibilities being explored was to re-locate Early Birds Nursery to a separate site.
And there is now a preferred bidder for our old home and the former GBC Broadcasting House building.