NGO coalition to file legal challenge against development permit near Ġgantija temples

NGOs says allowing development would set dangerous precedent

Ġgantija temples (File photo)
Ġgantija temples (File photo)

A coalition of NGOs are mounting a legal challenge against the approval of a development permit near the Ġgantija temples.

“The Coalition for Gozo and Din L-Art Helwa are preparing to fight for the revocation of a permit awarded recently for construction near the world-famous Ggantija Temples as soon as the decision is published, warning that it poses a very serious threat to the integrity of the temple complex and its buffer zone and fully justifying the public outcry,” the coalition for Gozo said.

The Coalition for Gozo is a dedicated advocate for environmental conservation in Gozo, made up of Din L-Art Ħelwa Għawdex, Għawdix and Wirt Għawdex working with Din L-Art Helwa, Malta’s National Trust

They said the surrounding buffer zone established by UNESCO is essential for safeguarding their cultural and environmental significance, serving as a protective measure against any development that could compromise the authenticity and historical value of the temple

“Sites of such global importance are not up for sale, are not the domain of local developers, governmental authorities and politicians but a gift to the world and it is our duty to protect such sites for this and future generations. There is no room for small minded, petty and outrageously controversial thinking and decisions from people who should know better,” they said.

Any such development as envisaged under PA/00570/21 which disrupt the visual setting of the temples, causes environmental disturbances, and allows for the potential degradation of the temples' surroundings should be blocked without reserve, the coalition said.

Din L-Art Helwa and the Coalition for Gozo will be filing a request for the revocation of this permit based on flaws in the approval procedure, errors and incorrect information on which basis the permit was granted.

The group also warned that allowing this construction would set a dangerous precedent for other sites being prepared for devastating new development in the vicinity of Ggantija Temples and other sites of key historical and cultural importance in Malta and Gozo.

They urge the public to join its efforts against the development, and to advocate for responsible and sustainable development that respects the buffer zone and the unique cultural and environmental heritage it seeks to protect.

The group noted with satisfaction the recent statements by Heritage Malta and he Superintendence for Cultural Heritage to the Planning Authority and calls on the Government and the Planning Authority to do its duty to the nation and “the civilized world that we form part of and stop the environmental vandalism that is being wrought upon our nation.”