Nationalist Party calls on ERA for longer consultation period for power station, LNG tanker

The Nationalist Party has called on the Environment and Resources Authority to extend the IPPC public consultation period, calling the current time-frame ‘ridiculous’

The power station consists of a Floating Storage Unit anchored off Delimara
The power station consists of a Floating Storage Unit anchored off Delimara

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has formally requested that the public consultation period for the Delimara power station and the LNG tanker currently berthed at Marsaxlokk Bay be extended.

In a letter to Environment and Resources Authority chairman Victor Asciak, Busuttil criticised the length of the environment impact assessment, which reportedly goes into the thousands.

“It is ridiculous that the Authority expects professionals, let alone laymen, to read and analyse all this material in order to bring forward a serious case in the stipulated time,” Busuttil’s letter reads.

Busuttil speculated on the reason for the parameters of the current consultation period.

“It raises suspicions that this is being done intentionally to obstruct the process of a serious and effective public consultation, as the Authority is obliged to do under the Seveso Directive and the Aarhus Convention. This would mean that the process is intrinsically deficient, and that the decision to approve the project, including the controversial taker, has already been taken,” Busuttil said.

The public consultation for the Integrated Prevention and Pollution Control (IPPC) application, which assesses the whole environmental performance of the plant, including matters like emissions into the air, water and land, generation of waste, use of raw materials, energy efficiency, noise, prevention of accidents and risk management, commenced today, 19 October, and closes on 17 November.

Installations like power stations and large chemical plants have to obtain an IPPC permit from the Planning Authority to be allowed to operate. The permitting process ensures that these plants make use of the “best available technology in their operations”. 

The power station consists of a Floating Storage Unit anchored off Delimara, linked to an onshore regasification plant which will operate on liquefied natural gas, considered as a cleaner alternative to heavy fuel oil.