Green NGOs welcome MEPA’s refusal of Maghtab petrol station

Environmentalists extend their strong support to MEPA board members who voted against Maghtab petrol station

An artist's impression of the development
An artist's impression of the development

Malta’s green NGOs have extended their strong support to the members of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority board who have voted against the relocation of an existing fuel station to a new site in Salina Road on the junction with Trejqet l-Arznu, Maghtab.

The NGOs are Ramblers’ Association of Malta, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Malta Organic Agriculture Movement, Maghtab Residents' Association, Nature Trust, Din l-Art Helwa and Friends of the Earth.

On Thursday, four members of the board, including government representative Joe Sammut and opposition representative Ryan Callus, voted against the application for the ODZ petrol station on the strength of a local plan policy designating the area as a rural category settlement.

“This decision came as a great relief to all who have the environment at heart, and a deserved reward to the residents of the area, who fought tooth and nail against further degradation of their area,” the NGOs said.

In spite of arguments to the contrary brought forward by the Planning Directorate, the majority of the members agreed with the objections of the Environment Protection Directorate (EPD); the latter considered the proposal objectionable and recommended a rational relocation in an area better adapted to such use.

“We expect that with the imminent demerger, the Planning Authority will change tack and turn proactive for the environment; will lead by taking just and timely decisions efficiently and transparently enforced; will not be led by greedy and selfish development, but work for the attainment of the common good while respecting the opinions and aspirations of society in line with its declared mission statement,” the NGOs said.

“Rather than use the degraded state of certain areas as an excuse to allow any sort of development, as is the case in point, it is incumbent on MEPA, and its successor institutions, ‘to protect, care for and improve the environment and thus ensure that land use and the protection of the environment meet the needs of
today’s society and future communities’.”