Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar call on development master plan following pandemic

Environmental NGO calls out ‘cowboy developers’ over continuous dumping illegalities  

Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar have called on authorities to use the slow down brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to plan for more environmentally sustainable development in the future.

The environmental NGO said Malta needs a master plan which encompasses demography and all social and economic aspects of life.

The master plan should encompass different age groups, income and wealth distribution, as well as how people live and travel.

The NGO called out the Malta Developers’ Association for its request to government for less bureaucracy to increase investment.

“The public has had enough of development which has destroyed much of the appeal of Malta’s towns and villages, undermining health and increasing air pollution,” it said.

FAA also mentioned Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg and “his dream” of having more Maltese willing to work in the construction industry.

FAA Coordinator Astrid Vella also cited the construction industry’s lack of insight into how the coronavirus pandemic will be affecting architecture.

“International studies indicate that high-rise buildings will become more expensive to build, less efficient and less desirable as companies and families avoid cramped offices and multi-unit residential blocks, having to share lobbies, lifts and corridors with hundreds of others. This will reduce the economic attractiveness of investing in tall towers both for offices and residential uses,” she said.

The eNGO also said that instead of taking stock of the situation, “cow boy developers” have continued to work, and are illegally dumping thousands of tons of debris in the countryside, highlighting Wied Qirda in Zebbug as a prime example of these “unchecked yet continuous” illegalities.

“In Gozo, clearing fields and destroying indigenous, protected trees before submitting a development application has become a regular practice.”

The latest case is a large field within the Xaghra Stone Circle, according to FAA. All this area within the Ġgantija AAI zone is highly sensitive for its archaeological value.

The clearing of fields within the Xaghra Stone Circle
The clearing of fields within the Xaghra Stone Circle

The NGO said that the abuse was reported to the Planning Authority, yet no action has been taken.

The drop in demand due to the pandemic was also cited by the NGO, which translates to no justification in adding to the overdevelopment in the country.

“We cannot have one sector led by self-interested bullies, ruin life for everybody else,” FAA concluded.

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