Blue Flag status for nine Maltese beaches

MEPA satisfied with the outcome of international Blue Flag report confirming upgrading works at Għadira Bay did not jeopardize its Blue Flag Status

This year, the International Jury granted the Blue Flag Status to a total of nine beaches in Malta and Gozo, confirming that Għadira Bay is to retain its Blue Flag status.
This year, the International Jury granted the Blue Flag Status to a total of nine beaches in Malta and Gozo, confirming that Għadira Bay is to retain its Blue Flag status.

The FEE International Jury has found no irregularities into the way MEPA assessed, processed and is monitoring the upgrading works of seven kiosks along the Għadira Beach in Mellieħa after having evaluated a report which was compiled by the national Blue flag operators early last month.

This year, the International Jury granted the Blue Flag Status to a total of nine beaches in Malta and Gozo, confirming that Għadira Bay is to retain its Blue Flag status.

The other beaches which received the Blue Flag status for the coming season include Fond Għadir in Sliema, the Westin Dragonara Beach in St Julian’s, the Paradise Bay Hotel Beach in Ċirkewwa, St George’s Bay in Paceville, the Buġibba perched beach, Qawra Point, Għajn Tuffieħa Bay in Mġarr and Ramla l-Ħamra in Gozo.

The Blue Flag Status is awarded to beaches across the world which meet high standards for water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and environmental management.

The International Jury congratulated Nature Trust (Malta) as the Malta Blue Flag national operator for sending the documentation on time and the excellent performance. 

It granted the dispensation to Ghain Tuffieha Bay, and asked that information about the dispensation is displayed on the information board, as well as pointing on the map the closest disabled beach with the Quality beach label.

It however said that it was imperative that this beach has the appropriate waste separation bins as approved for Malta Blue Flag. “Failing to have these in place will mean that the Flag will not be awarded next year.”

It also asked that Blue Flag Malta works with the Golden Bay beach towards Blue Flag award, pushing the municipality and government to comply with the environmental standards which are necessary to be awarded the Blue Flag.

“Blue Flag notes that this is already in process and looks forward to seeing a positive evaluation for 2015. The International Jury therefore asks that Blue Flag Malta reports next year to the Blue Flag International Jury about the status regarding Blue Flag implementation at the Golden Bay beach, if it has not reached full compliance for 2016.”

As to the extraordinary circumstance concerning Mellieha bay, the International Jury thanked the authorities for taking swift action and sending the evaluation report to the International Jury. 

The jury awarded the Blue Flag to Mellieha bay on the condition that the MEPA continues to monitor the construction of the kiosks to ensure compliance with the permits conditions and method statements, and that the operation of the kiosks is monitored to ensure full compliance with the blue Flag criteria.

“Moreover, it encourages the national operator to keep a close discussion between Blue Flag Malta and Blue Flag International to ensure the beach complies with all Blue Flag criteria before it is awarded, and during the season. If there are failures in the process the Blue Flag is to withdraw the Flag immediately from this Beach during the season. Furthermore it is recommended that more frequent beach inspections are done at Mellieha Bay since this Bay has witnessed various problems over the years which may risk the retention of the Flag.”

MEPA said that over these past weeks it has been monitoring the permitted upgrading works on these kiosks to ensure that they comply with the method statement which was assessed and endorsed by the Environment Protection Directorate. 

Although not requiring a full development planning permit, the processing of these applications was rigorous to ensure that all environmental and planning considerations were addressed.     

“MEPA is satisfied that the International Jury has recognised the efforts that MEPA and the Government Property Division have made over the past months to ensure that Golden Bay will be awarded the Blue Flag status for the 2016 season.”

Over the past weeks MEPA’s enforcement officers supervised the removal and demolition of a 465 square metre ‘kiosk’, which for years was located on the sandy beach at Golden Bay and the wooden staircase that led down to it from the upper road. The kiosk and stairs have not only been an eyesore but were also having an adverse impact on the protected ecology of the area.

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