14th September 2013
Din l-Art Helwa is highly concerned that the government is formulating the objectives of key planning policies without giving environmental NGOs and the general public adequate opportunity to participate. These objectives will affect existing rules on construction outside the development zone (ODZ), and building heights.
It is unacceptable that the government is choosing to conduct such an important process, with far-reaching impacts on our landscape and natural environment, in a manner which seems to prioritise industry stakeholders and does not ensure adequate participation by the public.
Din l-Art Helwa questions whose objectives are being given priority in this exercise. On some of the policy committees, the government is handing the reins to the very industry stakeholders who stand to gain from a relaxation of the rules. On the other hand, the public is only being given extremely short time-frames in which to participate in formulating the objectives.
The revisions focus on ODZ developments, agri-tourism facilities with accommodation, farms, stables, fireworks factories and petrol stations, as well as new rules for building heights including for hotels.
The public consultation on the objectives of a first set of policies closes on Monday 16th September, and MEPA has already refused a request by Din l-Art Helwa to extend this time-frame. A consultation period on a second set of policies has just been announced and closes on 30th September.
Din l-Art Helwa maintains that two weeks is not a reasonable period for public participation on these important objectives. It questions why the government is insisting on these short deadlines for public participation, and again calls on government to extend the consultation time-frames.
‘These policy revisions will have a huge impact on the environment which is our common heritage’ stated the organisation