Din l-Art Helwa wants ‘ambiguous’ clauses struck off SPED

Environemental NGO warns that current draft of strategic development plan will prove 'fatal' for countryside, rural areas and coast

Din l-Art Helwa have reiterated their call to the government to strike off two clauses within the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) that is currently being discussed in Parliament. 

According to the draft SPED, development may be permitted in outside development zones where no other feasible alternatives exists in urban areas. It also states that projects of a “sustainable” nature can be permitted in ODZ land “as a last resort where it is essential for the achievement of sustainable development”.

“Including these two clauses will be fatal for our countryside, rural areas and coast,” the environmental NGO said in a statement. “This wording introduces uncertainty, can be applied very broadly to many development schemes and thus creates loopholes that can be utilised to bring development into protected areas. 

“They render null any improvements that have been incorporated into the final SPED draft.”

The NGO warned that this may be the government’s last opportunity to give Malta a proper Strategic Plan that clearly defines and gives direction to the use of space for the next decase.

“These two clauses render the plan vague and equivocal and therefore deny the SPED the essence of clarity it is required to have according to legislation,” the NGO said, while calling on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, as Minister in charge of planning and lands to fulfil his pre-electoral promises that “government would protect the environment, not because anybody has told us to do so, but in order to save it for future generations”.

“Good governance and therefore good legislation is what we expect of our politicians, not because NGOs ask for it, but because a responsible government should work for the common good,” Din l-Art Helwa said.  

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