[WATCH] Graffitti calls out PA for dragging its feet on ODZ fuel station policy review

The NGO said it was clear that the authority was taking everyone for a ride to allow a few developers to continue enriching themselves

Moviment Graffitti said that despite acknowledging that the policy was defective the promised review has not yet been implemented
Moviment Graffitti said that despite acknowledging that the policy was defective the promised review has not yet been implemented

Moviment Graffitti has accused the Planning Authority of intentionally dragging its feet on a review of its 2015 ODZ fuel station policy in order to allow a “few developers to continue enriching themselves”.

The pressure group stressed that one year had passed since Environment Minister Jose Herrera’s declaration that the policy was wrong and needed to be reviewed. Despite this, it said that the review was still nowhere in sight.

The policy only served to incentivise massive commercial complexes, under the guise of fuel stations, on agricultural and natural land designated as outside the development zone (ODZ).

Moviment Graffitti, working together with other organisations, carried out a number of actions in this regard, including two direct actions at the PA’s premises, demanding the immediate revision of the policy. Moreover, the group said that over 1,100 individuals have also sent an email to the authorities expressing their outrage at the policy, as well as the PA’s inaction on it.

The pre-written email can still be sent by following this link.

“It is baffling that the PA is taking such a ridiculously long time to carry out a simple change to the policy,” Moviment Graffitti said.  “Although the Environment and Resource Authority (ERA) completed its review in April, stating that the revised policy should not allow fuel stations on ODZ, the PA has not yet published for public consultation a draft of the revised policy.”

It said the PA’s CEO Johann Buttigieg had said in November that the reviewed policy was ready to be issued for public consultation, yet, one month later, the document remains unpublished.

Furthermore, it stressed that while PA is taking its time with the review, it continues to process applications for ODZ fuel stations.

“There are 16 applications for ODZ fuel stations, with four having been accepted already and the others still being processed, covering a total area equal to six times the Floriana Granaries.”

“It is clear that the PA is taking everyone for a ride by dragging its feet and keeping the current policy in place, thus allowing a few developers to continue enriching themselves by building on ODZ.”

Moviment Graffitti said it was also concerned that the PA might use the public consultation process as a way to continuing to postpone the revision of the policy by, for example, taking a very long time to come up with a final version of the revised policy after the consultation period closes.

“The PA should not only publish the reviewed policy for consultation immediately, but it should also establish a date for the entry into force of the final, revised, policy.”

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