FAA calls on political parties to consider environment in electoral manifestos

The activist group said that the protection of the environment should be entrenched in the Constitution and citizens given the right to sue government when it fails to implement and enforce laws

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Paul Cocks
8 May 2017, 6:40pm
FAA says Manoel Island (pictured) and White Rocks should be declared national parks
FAA says Manoel Island (pictured) and White Rocks should be declared national parks
It’s time that Maltese people’s rights to access to an unpolluted environment, health and well-being are recognised and protected, Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar said today.

In a statement, the activist group said that the protection of the environment should be entrenched in the Constitution and citizens given the right to sue government when it fails to implement and enforce laws to protect environment and air quality.

FAA said that Outside Development Zones areas and public domain sites should be designated as no-building and no-commerce zones and that this principle too should be entrenched in the Constitution.

“As part of a broad review of planning laws, planning agencies need to be granted greater support and authority to ensure universal compliance to existing policies as well as true and effective protection of third party rights,” it said.

“Moreover, civil society should constitute 50% of all planning boards and appeals bodies, which should also include representatives of the Architects’ Chamber.”

The eNGO insisted that until a national master plan is drafted in line with the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED), applications for development higher than 10 floors should be immediately frozen, including any permits under appeal.

“Development applications should not be allowed to worsen situation created by past permits issued without a corresponding investment in infrastructure to handle resultant traffic,” FAA said.

“Such intensive developments should be made to pay for infrastructural improvement – through public transport upgrades – coupled with the introduction of a nationwide network of safe cycle lanes and increased enforcement on vehicles belching emissions abusively.”

FAA also called for Manoel Island and White Rocks to be declared public parks and for the authorities to improve access to Gozo without trigeering an increase in cars and pollution on the sister island.

“We also believe it is time to reinstate protection of heritage properties, establish a system of grants for owners of heritage properties and introduce tax exemption or grants for NGOs preserving properties or the environment,” it said.

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Paul Cocks joined MaltaToday after having spent years working in newspapers with The Times...