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Floodgates opened for Xemxija and Coast Road billboards

The regulations also foresee 15 billboards along Triq is-Salini in an area where only five are presently allowed

James Debono
31 August 2017, 3:14pm
Photography: James Bianchi
Photography: James Bianchi
The Planning Authority has approved two billboards on sites where no such development is presently allowed according to regulations approved in 2006 which are still in place.

But both billboards fall in designated areas foreseen in new billboard regulations which will permit 14 billboards – seven in each direction – in the Xemxija bypass where only five are presently allowed.

The regulations also foresee 15 billboards along Triq is-Salini in an area where only five are presently allowed. The new regulations still forbid billboards facing traffic travelling from Qawra in the direction of Pembroke on the side of the road facing the sea.

The regulations designating sites for billboards were issued for public consultation in March but still have to be approved.

But although the PA has yet to approve these new regulations, the board has already approved two applications in Triq is-Salini and on the Xemxija bypass where billboards are not allowed by present regulations but which will probably be allowed by new regulations.

Both applications were recommended for refusal by the case officer but the board changed its decision because Transport Malta had no objection to their erection.

Presently billboards can only be approved on sites designated in regulations approved in 2006 but this did not stop the proliferation of illegal billboards which resulted in a wave of enforcement orders issued last year.

The billboard at the Xemxija bypass was approved just 60 metres away from a designated site where permits for billboards have already been issued.  

The billboard was approved in Dawret San Pawl il-Bahar (Xemxija Bypass), within the limits of San Pawl il-Bahar. The billboard is oriented facing traffic going towards Xemxija.

The PA has also approved a billboard along the coast road. The Naxxar local council had objected to the billboard as it is not located in an area designated for this purpose. The billboard will face traffic going towards Qawra.

An illegal billboard had already been set up on this location and was removed after the PA had issued an enforcement order in April 2016.

But the proposed Billboards & Advertisements Regulations issued for public consultation last March foresee the possibility of 15 billboards along Triq is-Salini in Bahar ic-Caghaq.

Regulations approved in 2006 foresaw only five billboards in this area. From aerial photos taken in the past it appears that billboards have already been placed at the same site in the past.

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