PN submits Private Member's Bill to make ERA operations more transparent

The Bill requires that all ERA meeting are open to the public, with its minutes and agendas published accordingly

The Nationalist Party has drafted a Private Member's Bill to promote transparency within the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA).

The Bill, which amends the Environmental Protection Act, requires that ERA meetings ought to be open to the public, with its minutes made public and with the agenda communicated publicly prior to each meeting. 

Any concerned members of the public would be given opportunities to directly participate in its proceedings, while those with a sufficient interest in the matter will have the option of undergoing a revision procedure before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, so as to challenge the procedural or substantive legality of any proceedings.

An appeal would have to be lodged with the Tribunal within thirty days from when ERA takes action.

Under the Bill, any NGO promoting environmental protection will be able to lodge an appeal.

The Nationalist Party announced earlier this month that it will be presenting a variety of suggestions in a private member's bill to amend the law that regulates the authority.

This came after a group of environmental and civic action NGOs wrote to the Environment Minister calling for the removal of Prof. Victor Axiak from his post as head of the Environment and Resources Authority. 

In their letter, the NGOs reiterated their call for a legal amendments to allow NGOs to have an automatic judicial interest in any appeals presented to the EPRT.

They also asked that ERA board meetings be open to the public, allowing citizens to make their representation, and that any votes taken during these meetings no longer be kept secret, but every board member’s vote logged and published. 

Both proposals seem to have been taken on board by the Nationalist Party through this Private Member's Bill.