Laws to be updated with harsher penalties for uprooting trees

A total of 17 new species of trees will be added to the list of protected trees in the updated Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulation

Malta’s Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulation will soon be updated to include harsher penalties for the uprooting of trees, according to environment minister Jose Herrera.

Speaking at the launch of a public consultation on the changes, Herrera said the ministry intended for the law to come into force next year, and would see up to 17 new species of tree added to the list of protected species.

The minister explained that in addition to penalties for anyone caught needlessly uprooting trees, in cases where this is required to facilitate building construction, the developer will be required to pay a form of monetary compensation, if the tree is not moved to a different location or replaced.

The new regulations – which were last updated in 2011 – will also consider the age and type of tree, and will apply to trees both in the countryside and urban environments.

“The new legislation will bring about more awareness about the cultivation of trees and our environment,” said Herrera.

Moreover, he said that while trees in public and urban spaces had previously been trimmed and uprooted carelessly, courses would now be organised to better inform people on how to trim and cultivate them properly.

The consultation launch took place at Marsaxlokk, where Herrera, together with village mayor Horace Gauci, took part in the planting of a number of trees. A total of 300 new trees, 150 of which were sponsored by the Environment and Resources Authority, were planted.  

300 new trees were planted in Marsaxlokk
300 new trees were planted in Marsaxlokk

The minister explained that nearly 4,000 trees were planted in 2017, with the number expected to increase in 2018.

Herrera said that nearly 4000 trees were planted this year, a number which will increase over the next year.

“Malta is a beautiful country, but has a serious lack of trees,” said Herrera, stressing the need for the cultivation of more.

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