The persistent easterly storms that Gibraltar has experienced this winter season, continuing right into the Spring, have delayed works in the area of the north of Eastern Beach, linked to the runway tunnel, which were programmed to have been completed on 15th May. Government say they have been monitoring the situation very closely and all efforts are being made to ensure that the time limit is met, or at the very worst that the delay does not extend beyond the end of May: well before the official start of the bathing season.
Representatives of beach users are being kept fully informed and recently met with the Minister for the Environment Dr John Cortes to discuss the matter.
The easterly storms have had little effect on Sandy Bay, where the Government’s beach protection works have proved extremely effective. However, Catalan Bay has been particularly badly affected, with loss of sand and deposition of stones. The Government is tackling this problem in various ways. The stones will be removed in the coming weeks and 20,000 tonnes of sand from the excavation at the airport tunnel - which has been tested and given the all-clear - will be taken to Catalan Bay as from the first week in June.
As a result of climate change it is likely that the pattern of increased storms will continue. The Government is therefore considering more permanent measures to protect and enhance Catalan Bay. A solution similar to that used at Sandy Bay is being studied and an offshore breakwater, allowing access for the movement of the traditional boats that use the beach, is a real possibility. These measures will of course be decided with the involvement of the representatives of Catalan Bay Village.