All local plans 'up for revision' – MEPA

All seven local plans are up for revision, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority says.

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) today said that it has initiated the process for the revision of all existing local plans.

The authority explained that the process will kick-off with a three month long public participation exercise, which will see local councils, the public and all interested stakeholders involved in the entire process of re-drafting local planning policies which directly affect and impacts their lives.

MEPA said the goal of this review exercise is to identify any shortcomings that exist in the current local plans, which add up to seven, and "more importantly to propose innovative ideas and recommend new land-use purposes which can positively be considered during the compilation of the new proposed local plans."

Following the draft compilation of the new local plans, which will be published next year, the authority will issue draft policies for further public consultation.

Local Plans aim at regulating development both on a regional level and also on the level of localities.

MEPA explained that these plans safeguard land for a range of identified activities giving due regard to their context, inter-compatibility and to promote certain types of investment in identified areas.

They also earmark areas for residential accommodation, urban regeneration, social and community amenities, promotion of tourist activity, recreational facilities, employment opportunities, utilities management and safeguarding of cultural and natural heritage.

The authority added that it intends to create planning policies that are tailored to achieve a sustainable balance between the wide range of citizen's aspirations.

"This goal can only be reached if active citizens' participation is secured from the outset. Active participation is strongly encouraged so that MEPA and decision takers do not just get the views of the vociferous few, but would be in a position to gauge the aspirations of the many."    

MEPA Chairman Vince Cassar pointed out "we are at a stage were we need to look ahead and make a conscious leap to instigate and achieve quality in our built environment. The revision of the local plans and other planning policies in the coming months is a catalyst for us to ensure that a better harmonised, more vision-driven approach to policy making and its implementation is adopted."

He added that during the entire revision process of the local plans MEPA wants to engage with the public and most importantly with Local Councils because it believes that these have a vital role to play.

"We want to give them the space and flexibility to focus on the issues that really matter to their locality, while at the same time ensuring a focus on national strategic objectives." 

Throughout the course of this public participation period the authority will be organising a series of engagement meetings to facilitate and involve citizens in the entire process of this local plan revision exercise.   

The public is being invited to submit comments and suggestions by sending an email on [email protected] or by post at LP2013, Local Plans, St. Francis Ravelin, Floriana by not later than 30th September 2013. For further information the public can also call 2290 1027 during office hours.  

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