Developers will have to identify dumping quarries before works start, new measures specify

Environment Ministry announces plan for tighter regulation of construction waste dumping sector after agreement reached on price for disposal of debris in quarries

Under new measures, developers will have to specify where they will dump building waste before any construction starts
Under new measures, developers will have to specify where they will dump building waste before any construction starts

Developers will have to specify in which quarry the debris from their building project will be dumped before any construction starts, according to new measures meant to more tightly regulate the disposing of rubble.

The measure was announced by the Environment Ministry on Tuesday, and comes after the government, the Environment and Resources Authority, and the Malta Developers Association reached an agreement for waste to be disposed of in quarries at a capped price of €12 per tonne.

Provided quarry owners respect the capped price, they will benefit from a reduced tax rate of 5%

The agreement solved the previous impasse which caused all roadworks to stop on Monday due to the fact that, despite there being available quarry space to dump construction debris, no quarries appeared to be open to accepting waste at market prices.

In a statement this evening, the Environment Ministry said that in the past weeks it had, together with the ERA, worked on a plan to regulate the sector of construction waste.

The intervention to regulate dumping prices was deemed necessary in light of the fact that the market did not function in the way it was expected to, with the consequence that quarries in the country were not keeping up with the amount of waste being generated from infrastructural projects undertaken by the government at the offered dumping cost, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said.

"In the past few hours, the ministry and ERA reached an agreement with the MDA for the quarry owners to be given a tax exemption, through which they will be taxed only 5% on the condition that they accept the material at €12 per tonne.

"These measures will help ERA to regulate the industry in order to implement good practices as well as recycling plans," Farrugia said, adding that the government would also push for stone to be used more than once in line with the principle of reduce, reuse and recycle.

"Another measure will be that, in the process of the development permission, with the commencement notice, the disposal site where the waste is to be deposited by the developer needs to be identified. Conditions in contracts for use of quarries, and in permits for operation and use, will be scrutinised and enforced by the responsible entities in a coordinated effort. This should provide for a sustainable future for the industry," the minister highlighted.

Quarry disposal preferred over dumping at sea

Farrugia said that the government still had the possibility of depositing clean material from the industry (inert waste) in a specific area in territorial waters. This site was identified in the 1960s, and was used many times in the past, with the most recent case being construction waste primarily from projects close to the coast.

He, however, insisted that, while this is remained one of the options open to him, the work that was done in the past few weeks resulted in the decision to keep quarries as the preferred choice for depositing inert waste.

"In contrast to previous governments, which not only abused of, but also failed to regulate such an important sector, this government is taking courageous decisions and delivering the results which the people expect," he said.

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