‘Not more than 40’ illegal billboards, insists Planning Authority

The authority was responding to media reports alleging that there were 140 illegal billboards around the island when three billboards commissioned by Occupy Justice were taken down.

The Planning Authority said the removal of Occupy Justice's billboards was part of a wider clean up exercise (File Photo)
The Planning Authority said the removal of Occupy Justice's billboards was part of a wider clean up exercise (File Photo)

The Planning Authority (PA) has refuted claims that there are more than 140 illegal billboards in place across Malta and Gozo.

“[With reference to the article] claiming that there are 140 illegal billboards with an active pending enforcement. The Authority can confirm that in the case of illegal billboards, these do not exceed 40, which include the 6 cases that the Authority acted upon last Friday,” it said in a statement.

The article was published amid criticism regarding the authority’s swift action in taking down the billboards, only hours after they were erected. The action was described as a “vile act suppression” by Occupy Justice, who stressed that they had all the necessary permits, while also pointing out there were many other illegal billboards that had been standing for many years.

The PA said that of the enforcement notices quoted some could still be pending because the contravener might have not yet paid their dues for enforcement operations carried out, or because, despite having been removed by the contravener, the enforcement file has not been closed off because monitoring “continues for a number of months to ensure the removed illegality is not re-installed”.

Moreover, it said that some pending enforcement notices were not actually billboards but “adverts related to shops or establishments”, as well multiple pending enforcement notices related to the same billboard.

Furthermore, the PA said that it had embarked on “this planned action after the publication of the new regulations”.

“In the case of billboards, the removal is combined for logistical reasons,” said the PA. “As already stated, this is part of a wider clean up exercise which is ongoing. This is not the first time that the Planning Authority has carried out this kind of exercise.”

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