Two out of every three Maltese believe roads and big projects are a threat to the environment

Infrastructural work poses increased threat to environment, EU survey shows

Only 4% of Maltese think urbanisation does not pose any threat to biodiversity
Only 4% of Maltese think urbanisation does not pose any threat to biodiversity

The percentage of Maltese who think that biodiversity is “very much” threatened by infrastructural projects has shot up by 11 points since 2015, a European Commission survey on attitudes towards biodiversity reveals.

58% now think that biodiversity is under a considerable threat by infrastructural projects in contrast to 43% of respondent in all member states.  

Concern on infrastructural projects is only higher in Cyprus where 64% consider infrastructural projects as a great threat to biodiversity.

According to the Eurobarometer survey, the Maltese are now the second most likely in Europe to think that Maltese biodiversity is “very much” threatened by infrastructural projects and by the expansion of urban areas.

The recently published survey which was carried out in December comes in the wake of an onslaught of road widening projects and plans to link Malta and Gozo with a tunnel infrastructure passing through pristine natural areas like Pwales.

While 47% of respondent in all EU 28 member states think that biodiversity is “very much” threatened by urbanisation, the percentage rises to 64% in Malta. The concern is only higher in Cyprus where 71% replied likewise.

Only 4% of Maltese think urbanisation does not pose any threat to biodiversity.

The number of Maltese respondents who now think that biodiversity is very much threatened by urbanisation has shot up by 7 points since 2018.

The survey also shows a greater awareness of Natura 2000 sites, with the percentage of Maltese who have heard about them increasing by 16 points 2015.

Still 42% of the Maltese have not even heard about Natura 2000 sites. But the percentage is even higher in other EU member states. In fact 70% of all EU respondents have not heard of this network of protected sites.

The actual percentage of Maltese who have not only heard of Natura 2000 sites but actually understand what this designation entails has now reached the 25% mark, up 8 points since 2015.

The survey also shows a greater opposition in Malta towards economic development in protected Natura 2000 zones.

In ten member states, at least half of respondents say damaging economic development in these areas should be prohibited, and this is particularly the case for those in Portugal (68%), Malta (63%) Italy (60%) and Cyprus (59%). At the other end of the scale, 28% of respondents in the Netherlands and in Denmark say the same.

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