4,000 square metres of agricultural land to be lost to Enemed’s fuel tanks

Massive tract of agricultural land to make way for fuel filling facility

The relocation of fuel tanks from Birzebbugia to a fuel storage complex will result in the loss of around 4,000 square metres of agricultural land in Ghaxaq, which is to be replaced by a massive fuel dispensing station owned by Enemed for the refuelling of 40 road tankers on a daily basis.

The project will provide a fuel filling facility for road tankers servicing local fuel service stations.

Enemed is the only importer and distributor of gasoline in Malta.

The 6,600 square metre site, parts of which includes maquis vegetation and an olive grove, lies within a designated Area of High Landscape Value and Site of Scientific Importance (SSI) as identified in the South Malta Local Plan.

The access road will also be considerably widened to accommodate the new facility. An existing country lane will also be resurfaced.

The westernmost part of the site boundary is located just under 10 metres away from the Ħas-Saptan groundwater borehole room, and the entire site is located within 200 metres of this public borehole. However studies have shown that the risk to the aquifer is low if adequate procedures are taken.

The project is earmarked in an area known for funerary archaeological discoveries.

The site is partly protected by a local plan policy, which promotes the use of the olive grove for informal recreation, and does not allow the development of any built structures other than benches.

Corradino alternative discarded

A Project Development Statement reveals that Enemalta discarded the idea of relocating the fuel tanks to the Ras Ħanżir installation at Corradino, which is currently used for gasoil storage.

This option was considered by Enemalta because it “considers it preferable, for logistical and operational efficiency reasons, to locate the dispensing facility close to Has-Saptan” since this is already used to store the fuels being dispensed.

“This option would have required the existing installation to be upgraded to start storing gasoline and other fuels”.

The PDS claims that the construction of new pipelines for gasoline, diesel and kerosene to another site would raise the applicant’s costs significantly and potentially render the project unfeasible. The proximity to MCAST was also another consideration in ruling out the site ven if the site is already used for the storage of gasoil.

Benghajsa was discarded because the land here is not the property of Enemalta.

A decision to relocate the fuel storage facilities in Birzebbugia has already been taken by the government. The installation is located in close proximity to residential areas; and its decommissioning will reduce the need for road tankers to pass through residential areas.

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