Rein in Infrastructure Malta before it’s too late, Church commission says

Church commission condemns Dingli roadworks and calls for changes to planning rules to ensure that no roadworks are commenced without a permit

Felling of carob trees has taken place by IM in Dingli ahead of roadworks. Photo: Robert Louis Fenech/Facebook
Felling of carob trees has taken place by IM in Dingli ahead of roadworks. Photo: Robert Louis Fenech/Facebook

Exemptions granted to Infrastructure Malta, enabling it to start schemed roadworks in ecologically sensitive rural areas without a planning permit, should be revoked Church’s commissions on cultural heritage and the environment said in a statement. 

Over the past months Infrastructure Malta which falls under the remit of Transport Minister Ian Borg has become notorious for stealthily carrying out environmentally destructive road works. 

The most recent case saw the agency starting roadworks planned to link the Daħla tas-Sienja alleyway with Sqaq il-MUSEUM, without a planning permit. 

The works were stopped by Graffitti activists, because they will result in the destruction of 300-year old carob trees at the end of the closed streets, for which even the Environment and Resources Authority has now issued a permit.

The works would also pass dangerously close to a medieval church granted protection by the PA and the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, following the direct action carried out by Moviment Graffitti. “Infrastructure Malta needs to be re-integrated fully into the planning process,” the Church commission said in a statement.

The commission called for an urgent review “to curb the exemptions” granted to Infrastructure Malta that allow it not to have to apply for full development permissions for certain projects, thus excluding such projects from the scrutiny of the public through public consultation and proper scrutiny by other competent authorities.

The church’s commission described Infrastructure Malta as “a threat to farmers’ livelihoods and the natural and cultural heritage”.

Moreover, according to the commission, the fact that the proposed road has been planned many years ago, does not exclude one from considering whether in 2020 this road is still required.

The Church commissionsalso deplored the permission granted to Infrastructure Malta by the Environmental and Resources Authority (ERA) to remove carob trees estimated to be hundreds of years old for the formation of a new road, “which will wreak havoc on the natural, cultural and architectural heritage”.

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