Malta: Nature Trust, Din L-Art Helwa Concerned Over Land Reclamation

Nature Trust, Din L-Art Helwa Concerned Over Land Reclamation

Nature Trust (Malta) and Din L-Art Helwa express their concern on the recent statements made by government namely on the two important issues of land reclamation and new development regulations within Mepa and are asking the authorities to give more information on their intentions.

While both NGOs agree that minor development amendments that could have negligible impact should be fast tracked within the building application process, transparency and professional control need to remain in the system to avoid abuse and encourage best practice.

Furthermore the NGOs are disappointed that none of the Environmental organisations have been consulted or contacted before such a change, stating that this does not argue well especially with Malta being an EU country were public consultation and the right to information by civil society is a guiding EU principle. The two NGos will be asking for a meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary in charge of Mepa so these new amendments can be explained.

NTM and DLH also voice their concern regarding proposals made for private development to declare interests in land reclamation schemes as these can threaten our most scenic coastal areas which can fall prey to speculation for commercial purposes. Such activity may result in total degradation of marine habitats and compromise the protected posidonia meadows that abound in Malta’s waters which are safeguarded by EU law, in particular if silt curtains and monitoring is not done and hazardous waste is dumped.

Popular relaxation areas and coastal landscapes important to a sustainable tourism industry can be lost and the economy should not have to depend on construction to be stimulated. Furthermore the coastline is protected by several international conventions and changing its nature will be in direct contravention.

NTM and DLH are looking to the authorities to expand on these proposals and to give opportunity to ENGOs to send in comments and recommendations.

[mappress]

Press Release, April 15, 2013

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