Land for Burmarrad petrol station is ‘good agricultural quality’

A proposed fuel station in Burmarrad may be heading into a brick wall

The applicants for a brand new petrol station over 3,000sq.m of land in Burmarrad on the ‘Mosta side’ of the motorway have been told the land in question is good quality agricultural land.

The application may be heading into a brick wall after the PA’s advisory committee on agricultural issues concluded that the land in question qualifies as good quality agricultural land.

The existing policy for new and relocated petrol stations states that existing petrol stations can be relocated outside development zones, but not on “good quality agricultural land.”

The fields where the supermarket and petrol station will be built are outside the Burmarrad development zone, at the edge of the village
The fields where the supermarket and petrol station will be built are outside the Burmarrad development zone, at the edge of the village

The PA’s agricultural advisory committee based its assessment on a report on soil quality presented in an Environment Impact Assessment presented in March, which values the annual agricultural produce from the plot of land earmarked for a petrol station at €27,000.

Based on the applicant’s report, the fields in the area have the potential to sustain two to three crops per year, generating annual potential earnings of up to €11,000 per tumolo. The field in question is large, circa 2.5 tumoli, and directly accessible from the main road.

The report considered the soil type, depth, field size and accessibility factors which give an indication of the land’s quality and its economic potential. The soil depth in the area ranges between 50cm and 75cm.

The proposal by Bonnici Stores Ltd dates back to 2007 and proposes the relocation of the existing kerbside fuel service station in Burmarrad, on Triq Burmarrad and 113 metres south of the Burmarrad development zone.

The aim is to alleviate the traffic congestion caused by the kerbside fuel service station in Burmarrad, particularly during refuelling by road tankers. But the EIA reveals the relocation project would entail the removal of approximately 3,600sq.m of soil. Whilst the majority of the site is fallow, the southernmost part has been recently cultivated and consists of irrigated land. According to the EIA the whole site could potentially be cultivated.

An application for the construction of a supermarket was also recently presented on an adjacent plot of land. But this application was suspended upon request by the applicant.

A revision of the policy facilitating the development of ODZ petrol stations, prompted by concern expressed by Environment Minister Jose Herrera, is still pending. The Environment and Resources Authority has already objected to the application.

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