PA received 1,400 submissions on Central Link project, Attard residents network says

Attard Residents Environmental Network satisfied with number of representations asking for project to be made more sustainable, less invasive

An substantial area of agricultural land in Attard would have to be destroyed for the Central Link project's roads to go through
An substantial area of agricultural land in Attard would have to be destroyed for the Central Link project's roads to go through

A total of 1,400 representations have been submitted to the Planning Authority regarding the proposed Central Link project, with requests to make the project more sustainable and less invasive, a network of Attard residents has said.

The Attard Residents Environmental Network said that, apart from this, an online survey had revealed that over 70% of respondents felt that the proposed project would not improve issue of traffic in Attard.

It furthermore noted that another online petition had seen 1,900 signatories call on the Prime Minister to ensure that the project is modified in such a way as to minimise its environmental and social impact.

“The numbers are very encouraging for AREN, as, in just a few weeks, it raised awareness and involved itself in constructive open discussions with stakeholders and residents of Attard. Several meetings were held with top government officials and NGOs, who contributed with professional advice and feasible ideas, which offer realistic alternatives,” the network said. “All this was done in line with the offer made by [Labour MP] Alex Muscat and Transport Minister Ian Borg, during the parliamentary committee meeting.”

AREN once more highlighted the fact that, as currently proposed, the project would lead to the “obliteration and complete destruction” of over 450 trees, 48,000 sq.m of arable land, destruction of the livelihoods of 47 farmers.

“Worse still, the proposed project as presented will be factually attracting more traffic towards the Attard area, and will consequentially increase pollution levels. Moreover, more than 1,100 residents will be isolated in between two major arterial roads, exposing them to unprecedented levels of toxic fumes and pollution,” it said.

The network underlined its views that the “irreversible damage” the proposed project would do would not be defendable in a country which “boasted of being one of the most progressive and modern EU member states”, pointing out that Malta is “already on the verge of being subjected to legal action by the EU for not keeping to its commitment to reach the pollution levels established”.

“This project will not in any way aid in reducing PM10 levels in the air to an acceptable level within the EU parameters,” it emphasised.

“On the other hand, it seems that the present administration is shelving the modal shift transport reform proposed in its 2016-2025 transportation document, and is only working on facilitating more private car use by widening roads. In view of this, AREN has proposed that a by-pass designed using international standards, and set at a distance of around 150 to 200 metres away from residential areas, could be installed on existing country roads or elevated on pillars, reducing its environmental footprint by more than half of what is currently proposed.”

It also announced that AREN would be itself as a registered voluntary organisation, and would be actively involving itself in current and future projects involving Attard, monitoring them and ensuring that they respect and nurture the town’s historical and cultural heritage.

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