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Labour rewarding illegality with planning amnesty, FAA charges

Labour government giving major contraveners a fast-track amnesty procedure, promoting and encouraging Malta as ‘Illegality Island’ – Flimkien ghal-Ambjent Ahjar

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
24 August 2016, 5:31pm
Flimkien għal Ambjent Ahjar has condemned the planning amnesty rolled out by the Planning Authority as a “transparent attempt to legalize the illegal” and serve as further payback to the construction lobby.

FAA said the dismantling of existing planning and urban controls and lack of enforcement would lead to further planning chaos, urban congestion and poor standards of living, “as malpractice and abuse within the construction industry keeps being rewarded.”

“The Labour government continues to reward illegality. Political opportunism and environmental insensitivity are the hallmark of the current administration,” FAA said.

“Under the convenient euphemism of ‘regularising’ the minor contraventions of hard-pressed first-time buyers, the Labour government is giving major contraveners a fast-track amnesty procedure, promoting and encouraging Malta as ‘Illegality Island’.”

Previous legislation, referred to as a CTB, had already allowed owners to attain a form of concession for their illegalities on condition that they fit within clearly defined minor irregularities, since anything in excess was considered unsanitary or uninhabitable.

“The new planning amnesty makes no such distinctions between types of irregularities, paving the way for developers to get clearance on major illegalities, with all decision-making at the sole discretion of the planning authority. This legislation contravenes EU law as there is no clause stating that the decision-taking process should be carried out in front of the general public, blatantly dismissing the rights of neighbours and third party stakeholders.”

The removal of the term ‘illegal’, as this amnesty law provides, does not change the illegal conditions of buildings, simply leaving potential buyers at risk of investing in unsanitary substandard properties, while encouraging developers to continue to maximise their profits by building such illegal properties which they can legalise later.

“This amnesty also has a weakening effect in the economy as ethical developers who go through the extra expense in order to comply with regulations face unfair competition from cowboy-contractors who are handsomely rewarded for their abuse,” FAA said.

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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