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ERA objects to Mdina road petrol station, just 400m down from nearest pump

The Environment and Resources Authority is objecting to the relocation of am urban petrol station’s licence on Valley Road, Msida to Mdina Road, Attard

james
James Debono
10 August 2017, 9:11am
More petrol pumps… this one would be just 400m away from the Attard petrol station
More petrol pumps… this one would be just 400m away from the Attard petrol station
The Environment and Resources Authority is objecting to the relocation of am urban petrol station’s licence on Valley Road, Msida to Mdina Road, Attard. 

The proposal involves the construction of a fuel service station, auto-gas filling facilities, a car wash facility, tyre service garage, two charging stations for electric vehicles, an ATM facility, three retail units including a diner, an office, underground storage areas and an underground parking space on a 3,000 square metre site on the Rabat road, between the existing petrol station and the small chapel. 

Five Aleppo pine trees will have to be removed to accommodate safe entry and exit to the site, which consists of abandoned agricultural land and is located 395 metres from the nearest existing petrol station, on the opposite side of Triq l-Imdina. 

The present policy states that the PA should not allow a new fuel service station within 500m of an existing service station located “in the same direction of traffic”, but may consider fuel service stations on the opposite side of the road from an existing service station “if it can be demonstrated that traffic on the opposite lane cannot easily access it”. 

The proponent, Ludwig Camilleri, already has a pending application for a cemetery in the same area, which is still pending but is probably doomed because ODZ cemeteries are overruled by a policy approved in 2014.

The site in Attard was the third one to be considered by Camilleri for the relocation of a kerbside fuel service station in Valley Road, Msida, which was decommissioned in 2014. 

The licence was transferred by Edgar Borg & Sons Limited to Luqa Developments Limited, a company owned by Ludwig Camilleri, in March 2014. The new policy permitting the relocation of fuel stations in the ODZ was approved a year later.

In the project development statement submitted to the PA, Camilleri claims that he had begun the search for a suitable relocation site in late 2013, and alternatives in San Gwann and Salini had already been considered – the former discounted by MEPA due to the archaeological sensitivity of the area, while the latter was abandoned after a MEPA screening letter highlighting a number of issues pointing to its unsuitability.

In its own screening report, the ERA said the EIA studies for the proposed petrol station are “secondary” to the overriding objection to the development as a whole, which encroaches beyond the development zone boundary onto a rural area. 

The ERA said there is no valid justification for further loss of undeveloped rural land and the associated environmental impacts. “There is also significant concern regarding the cumulative environmental impact caused by the numerous ad hoc proposals for petrol stations currently being proposed on ODZ land.” 

A policy approved in 2015 allows the relocation of existing petrol stations to ODZ sites.

While the PA has recently invoked the policy to approve a brand new petrol station in Burmarrad, the Attard petrol station would be the first relocated petrol station to be assessed under the new policy.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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