by Petra Caruana Dingli
After widespread discussion, and a fair amount of criticism, of the new policy that will regulate building in the countryside, today the Sunday Times reports that Minister for the Environment has said that his ministry was not consulted on this new ‘ODZ’ policy. How is this possible?
If this important step was omitted and the Ministry for the Environment did not sit up and take its own initiative to request that it is consulted on the new ODZ (outside the development zone) policy, then this may mean one of two things:
- The Ministry for the Environment did not consider that the way that the countryside will be developed is relevant to biodiversity, soil erosion, or other aspects of the environment;
- The Ministry for the Environment considers that it makes no difference if it was consulted or not.
Both the above reasons are not credible or acceptable. So what is going on?
The Ministry for the Environment is also responsible for agriculture, and the new ODZ policy deals with farm buildings. How can the Ministry not have been consulted?
Has the Ministry for the Environment also not been consulted on the other new policies that will affect the countryside, including those for fireworks factories, petrol stations and solar farms? Is it being consulted on any policies at all?
Apart from all this, let us not forget that the Ministry for the Environment is also responsible for sustainable development. How is sustainable development going to be ensured and promoted if the Ministry does not take an interest in the formulation of crucial policies like these?