NGOs file court appeal to stop Dwejra restaurant development

€3,000 were donated by the general public, helping BirdLife and other NGOs to appeal an Environment and Planning Review Tribunal decision to allow further development to a Dwejra restaurant 

The premises where the proposed development was green-lit by the Planning Authority's Environment and Planning Review Tribunal
The premises where the proposed development was green-lit by the Planning Authority's Environment and Planning Review Tribunal

BirdLife Malta together with a group of other NGOs and entities this morning filed a court appeal against an Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) decision to green-light further development of a restaurant at Dwejra in Gozo.

In a statement, BirdLife said the appeal was being partly financed by members of the public who donated more than €3,000.

“Following the overwhelming support from the general public who donated more than €3,000 in two days, BirdLife Malta on behalf of the front of 15 organisations has today filed an appeal in court to challenge the decision of the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal,” the NGO said in a statement. 

A Planning Authority ruling refusing the embellishment works on a Dwejra restaurant, was over turned by the EPRT last month, despite the area being a Natura 2000 site and a Dark Sky Heritage Area. The area is also designated as a Special Protection Area under the Wild Birds Directive.

The proposed development includes new lighting and the installation of tables and chairs on its terrace. 

BirdLife launched a crowdfunding initiative to appeal the decision earlier this month, over fears that the controversial decision would affect bird populations at Dwejra.

Claire Bonello, a lawyer and environmental campaigner will be representing the front during the hearing on 16 October, after the court’s summer recess. 

The site’s cliffs are home to a large number of Scopolis Shearwater birds, and are one of the last places on the islands which enjoys from minimal light pollution. 

Astronomical observations are also carried out from the site. 

“We would like to once again thank all the eNGOs who joined forces for the appeal and the hundreds of people who donated to fund it,” BirdLife said. 

15 organisations are supporting the initiative including BirdLife Malta, Bicycle Advocacy Group, Din l-Art Helwa, Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Isles of the Left, Light Pollution Awareness Group, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust, Ramblers Malta, Archaeological Society of Malta, The Astronomical Society of Malta, Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy at the University of Malta, Wirt Ghawdex and Voice of the Left.  

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