Over €3,000 donated by public to oppose Dwejra development

15 NGOs will be appealing a decision of the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal that refused to block a Dwejra restaurant from further development

The 'Save Dwejra' crowdfunding campaign proved successful as 15 NGOs collect more than €3,000 from the general public in two days
The 'Save Dwejra' crowdfunding campaign proved successful as 15 NGOs collect more than €3,000 from the general public in two days

Over €3,000 was collected in less than two days, donated by the general public, so that NGOs can appeal a decision of the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal that refused to block a Dwejra restaurant from installing lights, tables and chairs on its terrace as well as a timber canopy.

READ ALSO: BirdLife, NGOs crowdfunding €2,000 to oppose Dwejra lights decision

"Dwejra in Gozo is iconic and needs protection. It is a Natura 2000 site and is designated as a Dark Sky Heritage Area. It is one of the best diving spots and is surrounded by sedimentary rocks with an array of fossils," BirdLife said in a statement, adding that it was more or less pristine.

BirdLife contended that the fact that a substantial amount of money was collected in a short time would allow the NGOs to challenge the tribunal's decision in court and was testament to the power of civil society.

The Planning Authority (PA) had previously refused to grant the permit for further development, saying that doing so would conflict with one of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) objectives, to safeguard and enhance biodiversity, cultural heritage, geology and geomorphology. 

The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, however, decided to overturn the PA’s refusal for further development at this site, stating that the use of artificial light would be scrutinized by the authorities due to conditions imposed in a previous permit issued in 2010. 

Now, this decision will be challenged by 15 NGOs in court, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign.

"The NGOs would like to thank the people for their support which motivates them further to fight for this cause while promising to remain fighting to safeguard the natural and cultural heritage of our islands for the benefit of all," BirdLife said. 

The 15 participating NGOs are: The 15 NGOs united in this front are: Bicycle Advocacy Group, BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Isles of the Left, Light Pollution Awareness Group, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta, Ramblers Association, The Archaeological Society Malta, The Astronomical Society of Malta, The Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy, Wirt Għawdex and Żminijietna - Leħen ix-Xellug.

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