ADPD wants Constitution amendments that grant environmental action rights

ADPD – The Green Party wants Constitution to grant citizens the right to sue Government for inaction over issues of environmental concern

ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo (centre) and other members of the party during a press conference in Birzebbugia on Saturday (Photo: ADPD)
ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo (centre) and other members of the party during a press conference in Birzebbugia on Saturday (Photo: ADPD)

ADPD – The Green Party has called for a Constitutional amendment so that declarations on environmental principles grant citizens the right to sue Government, for inaction over issues of environmental concern.

This was stated by ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo during a press conference in Birzebbugia on Saturday. He said the environmental policies were inspired by the fact that human beings form part of an ecosystem.

“Environmental policies should be focusing on the benefits of our ecosystem and not just on fixes to previous damages,” Cacopardo said. ”More so, it should serve as a means to ensure that the activity we carry out today does not lead to more harm.”

He said Maltese governments have only sought to satisfy present demands, without giving much attention to the future.

“In local popular culture the environment tends to be associated with construction and with hunting and trapping. Although these have assumed disproportionate importance in local environmental policy, in actual fact this should be more encompassing,” Cacopardo said.

“It should be possible where necessary that individual citizens seek Court protection in areas where the government is procrastinating, or failing to take action, or not doing enough.”

According to Cacopardo such measures would strengthen the status of environmental NGOs and civil society, which he said have a right to bring action in Maltese and European courts. “eNGOs should also receive state aid to be able to carry out better their obligations,” Cacopardo concluded .

ADPD Deputy General Secretary and candidate Melissa Bagley insisted that the proposed site for a model aircraft airstrip in Ħal Far would lead to the destruction of agricultural land.

“A proposed site for an airstrip for model aircraft on the periphery of Ħal Far – the size of five football grounds – stretching along a designated Natura 2000 site in Wied Żnuber will mean the destruction of agricultural land as well as the spoiling of ecologically important zones”, insisted .

She explained that according to EU environmental rules, a Natura 2000 site should be largely centred on people working with nature rather than against it. Bagley emphasised that paving agricultural land and landfilling of garigue for and airstrip and a clubhouse, were “destructive” to the environment.

“The land earmarked for the development has been described as ‘disturbed’ due to the agricultural activity on site. However, the .  Birżebbuġa and neighbouring villages have already received their more-than-fair share of industrialization activity impacting on the quality of life of the residents and this proposed project would be another nail in the coffin for our natural heritage,” Bagley said.

“Stop playing games, stop the empty promises made on the eve of an election.”