Press Release – 17 January 2014

Din l-Art Helwa has written to the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Development Planning, stating that it objects most strongly to the government’s ongoing initiative to hastily revise and introduce a series of important plans and policies before the new Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) is concluded, and without having carried out the necessary studies.

The government has launched a process to revise and introduce several major plans and policies, including the revision of Local Plans, policies for construction Outside the Development Zone, Tall Buildings, Hotel Heights Adjustment Policy, for Fireworks Factories, Solar Farms, Fuel Stations, Cemeteries and for the Development of Marsaxlokk.

These plans and policies, stated the NGO, have major and long-term environmental, social and economic implications, and they should be put on hold until the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development is concluded.  The SPED is intended to replace the Structure Plan and this should be finalised and open for public consultation before embarking on major revisions to subsidiary plans and policies.

In December last year a public rally was organised by environmental groups which called on the government to refrain from revising these plans and policies before adequate studies are carried out, however this call from e-NGOs and the public has been completely ignored.

In 2013 the Commissioner for the Environment and Development called for a Marine Subject Plan but this also went unheeded and numerous plans for land reclamation are still moving ahead without this plan being put in place.

Din l-Art Helwa is now requesting that the Parliamentary Committee reviews the procedure that is currently being followed by the government in the preparation of the SPED and the revision and formulation of these plans and policies.

The letter to the Standing Committee can be viewed here