Planning Authority green-lit 47 fuel station permits since 2015 across Malta and Gozo

It’s a big business made lucrative by a controversial planning policy, and since 2013 there have been 67 requests for permits to build or upgrade fuel stations

Since the beginning of 2013, the Planning Authority (PA) has received 67 applications related to work on, or the construction of, fuel stations around Malta and Gozo. 47 of these applications have been accepted since the start of 2015 – three of which are for the construction of new stations, and eleven of which relate to properties in Outside Development Zones (ODZ).

Thirteen of the 67 applications are still pending, and could potentially increase the number of new, or relocated stations since 2015 up to five. The information was obtained from Transport and Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg’s reply to a parliamentary question (PQ) put to him by Nationalist Party MP Karol Aquilina.

Speaking in parliament, in a supplementary question to the original PQ, Aquilina asked Borg whether he was concerned by the fact that applications for fuel stations keep increasing, despite government policy seemingly aimed at encouraging the use of public transport over personal cars.

Borg pointed out that, irrespective of government policy, the number of cars on the road was still increasing, and it was therefore understandable for the public sector to continue catering for the public’s needs.

In fact, the vast majority of the accepted applications – 43 – mainly involve the upgrading of station equipment and infrastructure, or the extension of existing facilities, most often through the addition of ancillary services such as car washes, in order for operators’ to be better positioned to compete in an environment where the next station could literally be just a few  metres away.

The authority’s Fuel Service Station Policy of 2015 has also been a contributing factor, with two of the three new stations approved since then involving the relocation of a previously existing facility.

There are currently 77 fuel stations across Malta and Gozo, according to another reply to a PQ back in October.

That’s one station in every 4 Km2, and, according to the latest car registration figures published by the NSO, roughly 4,700 cars for every station on the island.

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