Environment minister accepts ERA recommendations on fuel station policy

Jose Herrera has told the Environment and Resources Authority to discuss a way forward with the Planning Authority

Environment Minister Jose Herrera has told ERA to discuss an updated policy with the Planning Authority
Environment Minister Jose Herrera has told ERA to discuss an updated policy with the Planning Authority

Environment minister Jose Herrera will be backing recommendations made by the Environment and Resources Agency (ERA) in its review of the 2015 fuel station policy, MaltaToday has learnt. 

In January, the minister had requested that ERA review the policy and make recommendations on how it can be improved given the “cumulative environmental impact caused by the policy”.

Sources said the minister met with ERA officials this morning and informed them he agreed with the recommendations made by the authority in their entirety. By doing so, the minister has put his political weight behind calls for a change to the controversial policy.

Herrera is understood to have informed the authority to put its recommendations to the Council of the Planning Authority, and decide on the way forward.

The review is recommending, among other things, that the 3,000sq.m footprint of the ODZ fuel service stations be reduced, as well as the prohibition of the development of brand new petrol stations opposite industrial areas.

The minister will be writing to parliament’s environment committee, which will be meeting this evening, to inform it of his decision.

It is unclear whether a moratorium on applications for fuel stations will be implemented pending a new policy, but the sources said this was unlikely, and that the Planning Authority would probably continue to accept applications under the old policy until a new one was in place.

The full report from the review carried out by ERA is expected to be published next week.

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