The UK has been locked in conflict with the Spanish government over the EU COMMISSION (EC) HAD REGISTERED THE AREA COULD BE LISTED AS A SPANISH CONSERVATION ZONE OR ' SITE OF COMMUNITY iMPORTANCE' (SCI).
THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAINTAINING AN (SCI),WHICH INCLUDES, CARRYING OUT REGULAR ASSESSMENTS to help protect it from environmental threat, is only usually granted to states which own the area in question.
This particular stretch however known as ' ESTRECH ORIENTAL ' overlaps both the coordinates of Briish Gibraltar territorial waters (BGTW) and an existing UK SCI, the southern waters of Gibraltar.
The UK's legal case against the designation was lost at thr end of May., the foreign secretary announced on Monday that the UK would be appealing.
" The government is clear that only the UK can submit sites covering BGTW,Spain cannot enforce the management or monitoring of the specific area in quiestion. Therefore a risk that, given it's lack of access to this site, Spain will make decisions without scientific information which could have detrimental or economic impact on Gibraltar and BGTW," he said.
" The Government has a clear responsibility to uphold the UK's position over the waters around Gibraltar,I want to reassure the people of Gibraltar that we will defend their interests on this matter."
In it's judgement the European General Court said it had rejected the UK's case on technical grounds,because it should have challenged the Commissions' original decision to give Spain rights over the waters, rather than it's later confirmatory announcement.
MR. Hague said that the " Commission's deficient processes, lack of transparency and consultation " had meant the UK was unable to lodge the case as quickly as required."
" We have also highlighted that when the UK put forward it's southern waters of Gibraltar site it did so on the basis of consultation with Spain, which was ionsisted on by the commission. The commission did not insist that Spain consult the listing of ' ESTRECHO ORIENTAL ' he added.
The sovereignty of Gibtraltar which was officially ceded to the UK under the 'TREATY OF UTRECHT ' in 1713 has been dispuited for centuries.
Spain has frequently tried to reassert ownership of the territory, but in areferendum the Gibraltarian population rejected by a majority of 99% a proposal of shared sovereignty.