Bernard Grech's 'green' pledge: PN will not reverse 2006 development zones

A new committee dubbed PN Greens, captained by candidate Janice Chetcuti, will develop environmental policies for the Nationalist Party

PN leader Bernard Grech (left) and PN candidate Janice Chetcuti
PN leader Bernard Grech (left) and PN candidate Janice Chetcuti

Bernard Grech has pledged that a Nationalist government will not reverse the extension of development zones undertaken in 2006, insisting no development rights will be taken away.

The Opposition leader stopped short of acknowledging that the 2006 extension of development boundaries undertaken by a Nationalist administration was mistaken, insisting the development spree of recent years was the Labour government's doing.

"We will not be taking away the development rights acquired by people," he insisted when asked whether a PN government will reduce development boundaries.

But Grech also stopped short of saying which planning policies should be changed or reversed to control the development spree, opting to focus on the inconvenience caused by construction work instead.

He added that that there is a need for more proportionate development and beautification of neighbourhoods, but did not mention concrete proposals that would address rampant overdevelopment.

Grech said the PN has the environment and the quality of life of the Maltese at heart as he announced a working group within the party that will be developing environmental policies. The working group dubbed PN Greens is headed by candidate and animal lover Janice Chetcuti.

Grech called for more people who want to leave a mark on the environment, to join the PN, even if they do not usually appertain to the party.

Chetcuti said that the working group will “seek what’s best for the country and what’s best for the Maltese”. She invited all those with a genuine interest and possibly even a diverse opinion, including hunters that do their utmost to preserve and protect trees.

Both Chetcuti and Grech said the PN will be respecting the decision taken in a 2015 referendum to keep spring hunting.

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Chetcuti also remarked that the input from both hunting NGOs and bird conservation groups is needed.

She critisised the government for environmental schemes that are too complex and for abandoning most projects, like planted trees in gardens that are dying because they are not being watered.

She said that as a mother of two children, she has lately been finding it much more difficult to find open spaces for the recreation of her family.

PN secretary-general Michael Piccinino said that PN Greens would be open to all those who want to work for change for the good of the environment.