Labour leader welcomes Church commission’s comment on MEPA reform

Separation of MEPA units can lead to less bureaucracy and greater environmental protection, says Muscat.

Labour leader Joseph Muscat took the opportunity to reiterate Labour's proposals for MEPA reform during a cosy house visit where he sat down for a chat with the Mangion family.

Muscat welcomed the Church's environment commission's own report that suggested the separation between planning and environment arms at MEPA was necessary for the two units to work more efficiently.

Muscat was welcomed by Paul, who is self-employed in the development industry, and his wife Rosalie Mangion. Also present for the visit were their son Neil, 20, and their daughter Cherise, 22.

Muscat said Labour's proposals were aimed at speeding up planning decisions and that such decisions are delivered in a "more just and fairer manner", committing himself to avoid situations where "there was little or no accountability."

The Labour leader also reiterated the benefit of separating MEPA's environmental and planning functions, insisting that the proposed setup will lead to greater transparency and accountability.

He insisted that Labour's aim with regards to the development and construction industry is "to ensure that it is sustainable. There cannot be reckless development. It benefits nobody."

"We believe that there could be a situation where there is less bureaucracy and greater environmental protection. Under Labour's proposal, NGOs, the environmental authority as well as local councils, would all enjoy a vote on MEPA planning boards. This would mean more checks and balances."

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