MORE DIALOGUE WITH ENVIRONMENTALISTS IS A GOOD RESOLUTION FOR 2015 says Din l-Art Helwa In his New Year’s address to the nation, Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat said one of the key learnings for his government in 2014 was the need to have more dialogue with environmentalists. Din l-Art Helwa has taken this up requesting that dialogue starts immediately before more planning policies are approved that will further erode the countryside through rural development and destroy Malta’s rich architectural heritage through more demolition of traditional street and townscapes. Ms Mizzi, President of Din l-Art Helwa said dialogue must establish the true appreciation of the Prime Minister and the planners of the value of Malta’s rich natural and built heritage and asks whether they believe these to be important to the quality of life of the Maltese, our visitors and the right of future generations to their enjoyment. Both aspects make up our environment and are fundamental to the economic progress of the island especially in respect of high quality tourism which the island aspires to achieve. Only if there is true understanding of the beauty of Malta can our unique island character and national identity be safeguarded. Job creation and quick material gain have always been drivers of all governments, but these should not be sought at the expense of the countryside, the coastline and our unique built heritage, says Din l-Art Helwa while inviting the Prime Minister to follow its Facebook campaign Save the Countryside. Ms Mizzi asks that the Rural Tourism policy recently passed be scrapped and that tweaking of the boundaries to take construction further into out of development zones be stopped. Buildings have taken nature now so far away that the public can no longer reach it and this is condemning us to live inside, within urban areas that have no visual respite and open spaces. Demolitions within urban conservation areas should be stopped and Valletta’s interiors should be treated with sensitivity when undertaking conversions so that its unique architectural features are not lost forever. Din l-Art Helwa states that while the development lobby has a strong hold on government, dialogue should be held with all those who have the real interests of Malta at heart. This is the vast majority of people who aspire to a leader who will work for the common good of all, not just for a minority. Din l-Art Helwa states that the wish for more dialogue is a great start to the New Year on the part of the Prime Minister and of a government that listens, and will work to ensure that such dialogue is constructive and positive so action can be taken to save what is left of Malta’s beauty. A letter to this effect has been sent to the Prime Minister from Din l-Art Helwa.