[WATCH] Environment Ministry seeks feedback on camping, caravan and picnic sites

Environment Ministry seeks feedback on camping, caravanning and picnicking to help guide policy frameworks for land use related to these leisure activities

Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia
Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia

The Environment Ministry is seeking feedback on existing policies that regulate camping, caravan and picnic sites in a bid to create greener recreational areas.

Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said government’s intention was to have these zones set in a way so that families can enjoy Malta’s natural environment.

He admitted that recreational spaces are often conceived as paved concrete areas that are “anything but green”.

Land owners of areas earmarked in local plans for camping, caravanning and picnicking are being invited to go a step further and submit an expression of interest to have their land rehabilitated accordingly.

Farrugia said people are encouraged to highlight what facilities should be included in the areas already designated for these activities in the local plans.

“Government wants to revolutionise planning in our country: creating greener communities that foster a greater sense of public pride and cohesion,” he said.

Possibility of increased urban and district-level parks is discussed in the report, to help create green open spaces in close proximity to localities themselves and alleviate travel times needed to visit open areas. The District Level Regional Park between Fgura, Bormla and Zabbar is an example of this, and has already seen increased visitation numbers since it got its much-needed upgrading.

The paper notes that planning applications for camping and caravan sites often result in requests for further ancillary uses, such as restaurants or other disproportionate commercial uses.

"Such unjustified requests outside the development zone quickly turn the original project from an initially considered acceptable and reasonable land use, into a use that is unacceptable within the countryside due to its negative impact such as noise and traffic generation and visual intrusion."

From a cultural aspect, the paper admits that education would be crucial in rekindling respect owards nature. It states that mankind has become "detached" from the natural environment, a problem that is further compounded with the loss of urban green open spaces that have fallen victim to an inceasing appetite for development. 

You can send your feedback to [email protected] until 30 March 2021.

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