First ‘electric’ fuel station proposed in Qormi

The Mdina Road site is fallow and does not include agricultural land but is used as a makeshift car park

An electric fuel station
An electric fuel station

The first-ever electric and gas-powered charging station is being planned on a 3,600sq.m patch of land outside development zones on Mdina Road in Qormi, next to the KIA showroom.

The proposal – by KIA importers Easysell and owner Anthony Fenech, of Tum Invest – does not include conventional fuel.

The Mdina Road site is fallow and does not include agricultural land but is used as a makeshift car park.

But the project has an uncanny similarity to mega fuel stations being built outside building zones, since it will come with an extensive car wash area, and a gas and retail shop. It also includes solar panels on the roof of the retail outlet.

Back in 1996 the PA had refused an application to relocate a petrol station from the Qormi village core to this very site, then presented by another owner.

The irony between introducing a shift to electric cars – which would render petrol pumps obsolete – and approving more petrol stations in the countryside thanks to a policy approved in 2015, has not been lost on environmentalists. The controversial policy regulating ODZ fuel stations only refers twice to electric cars, stating that stations which provide cars with an electrical charge top-up service are also deemed to fall within the scope of this policy.

Moreover, petroleum filling stations, whether new or relocated, must also include at least one nozzle for the sale of biofuels or other alternative fuels, and one charging point for electric vehicles.

The policy does foresee the existence of fuel stations which do not sell combustible fuel – by making their approval easier since “parameters relating to safety distances applicable for combustible fuels may be relaxed if combustible fuel dispensers do not feature in the proposal”.

The fuel stations policy is presently being reviewed with ERA proposing a complete ban on ODZ fuel stations including those located opposite or adjacent to industrial areas and area of containments, as is the site in question.

Fenech had already proposed an ODZ petrol station in St Paul’s Bay but his application was nullified by the approval of another petrol station a few metres away since the present policy bans fuel stations within a 500m radius of each other.

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