Din l-Art Helwa and the Archaeological Society Malta Call for Protection of the Cultural Landscape at Ta’ Cenc


9th November 2007

The NGOs Din l-Art Helwa and the Archaeological Society Malta together call on the Malta Environment and Planning Authority to protect the area at Ta’ Cenc in Gozo which has been recommended for scheduling by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage. This area lies behind the grounds of the existing Ta’ Cenc hotel and around the Tal-Gruwa ridge which overlooks Xewkija, and contains archaeological remains of national importance such as dolmens and their associated features. Both NGOs believe that simply creating buffer zones around each archaeological feature is not the answer. It is important to keep such features within a landscape context without which their true significance will be completely lost.

This area has been identified by the Superintendence as being of national value as a cultural landscape. A current planning application by the owners of the hotel is proposing to build bungalows on part of the area proposed for scheduling by the Superintendence, said the NGOs.

The NGOs also query why MEPA has so far not taken any enforcement action against the significant quantity of illegal dumping of construction and other waste at Ta’ Cenc, in the area behind the hotel. They would like assurances that this area will not be included in development plans because it is now ‘disturbed land’. Illegal actions should not be rewarded but rectified by the perpetrators, said the NGOs.

The NGOs also question why the Government has so far failed to ratify the European Landscape Convention, even though it signed this Convention in 2000, a full seven years ago. Malta is one of only seven countries which have not yet ratified the Landscape Convention, out of a total of thirty- five signatory countries.