31 JULY 2014
Din l-Art Helwa and Nature Trust Malta have written to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Leo Brincat, requesting him to promote and initiate any required ecological studies on the area indicated as Zone 2 in the 1995 White Rocks Development Brief (see attached map), for its potential scheduling as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or as an Area of Ecological Importance (AEI).
The NGOs noted that this area is directly adjacent to the existing Pembroke Natura 2000 site and that its scheduling would enable it to be managed as an extension of this protected site. The area is characterised by a large variety of endemic and rare plants.
The NGOs stated that any redevelopment of the White Rocks complex should not extend beyond Zone 1 of the existing White Rocks Development Brief (1995) boundaries. Tourism developments can be sensitively developed in the vicinity of protected areas in order to enhance and promote the concept of eco-tourism.
The White Rocks Development Brief of 1995 notes that Zone 2 will be designated as an Area of Ecological Importance, and that this area will be extended to include land to the north east of Zone 2 (outside the site boundaries) once survey work in this area has been completed. It notes that Zone 3 will be designated as an Area of Agricultural Value.
The NGOs stated that preserving this site of high ecological value would add value to the site itself as it would attract visitors interested in eco-tourism, and that this would also show that Malta is indeed promoting sustainable development. Furthermore, leaving the garigue habitat intact would aid in keeping the natural corridor open for various species today found in the Pembroke Natura 2000 site, thereby not ending in a closed pocket.