Updated: MEPA refutes FAA claim
The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) has refuted claims that it is rushing planning applications due to the forthcoming election.
MEPA argued that the Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahja (FAA) statement was unfounded and irresponsible, stating that new procedures introduced in January 2011, result in applications unable to be placed for a decision on the agenda of an Environment and Planning Commission (EPC) from one day to the next. The new procedure, a MEPA statement read, means that an application takes a minimum of 21 days on the EPC agenda before a public hearing is held.
Whilst recognising an increase in the protection of national heritage over the past years, the FAA recalled how hundreds of permits were rushed though MEPA on the eve of the last election in an abusive manner. The Lidl project on fields in Xewkija is already being presented without the necessary studies, and the number of applications being processed is increasing, a statement issued by FAA read.
The use of clean energy, especially alternative and renewable energy should be at the basis of the electoral programme of both parties, FAA insisted in its electoral manifesto.
In the case of the PL energy proposals, FAA argued that all necessary environmental assessments and EU requirements must be adhered to in order to protect the ecology and landscape of the area.
The NGO asked the two parties to stop allowing developers to build in the countryside and focus on re-developing the Maltese village centres. FAA also queried if the MEPA Committee on Heritage and Environment and the Ombudsman will continue to be ignored by the MEPA board.
The FAA spoke about the International Monetary Fund and the EU, indicating that both organisations warned that over-development is weakening Malta’s banking system and is the islands’ main environmental issue. Both parties have failed to take a stand on the issue of illegal boathouses in Malta and no action has been taken regarding theft of water and illegal drilling of boreholes.