[WATCH] Moviment Graffitti, Kamp Emergenza Ambjent occupy Planning Authority driveway

Activists from Moviment Graffitti, Kamp Emergenza Ambjent are occupying the Planning Authority driveway with tents

Moviment Graffitti and KEA members occupied the PA driveway with tents in the early hours of the morning
Moviment Graffitti and KEA members occupied the PA driveway with tents in the early hours of the morning
Andre Callus on Moviment Graffitti PA action

Activists from Moviment Graffitti, Kamp Emergenza Ambjent, are occupying the Planning Authority driveway with tents in a protest against the regulator's green-lighting of fuel service stations.

The NGOs had already staged an action in protest at the PA board's decisions on fuel service stations.

A spokesperson for the group told MaltaToday that they were willing to stay there till Sunday if need be.

The controversial policy allows the relocation of urban fuel stations to sites of some 4,000 square metres outside development zones near rural motorways, making the sale of such fuel pump licences extremely lucrative.

The result has been a large take-up of agricultural land.

Graffitti said its action highlighted the PA’s failure to change the Fuel Service Station Policy - a policy that the authorities themselves acknowledged as harmful and promised to review, a full one year and four months ago. The Environment and Resource Authority (ERA) had submitted its recommendations, on the minister’s request in April last year.

“Since November, we have been hearing about the imminent publishing by the PA of the revised policy. However, the current policy remains in place, unrevised, and a draft outlining the eventual policy changes has not even been published for consultation.

“We will not allow the PA to take us for a ride, especially because our future is at stake here. Having so many massive fuel stations in a small over-built country like Malta is simply, as we have repeatedly stated, insane. And recent declarations by the Prime Minister about Malta shifting to electric car use in the near future make the insanity of all this even clearer.”

Graffitti said it wanted the PA to change the Fuel Service Station Policy to one that prohibits new or relocated fuel stations on ODZ, as per ERA’s direction; publish the revised Fuel Service Station Policy for public consultation, immediately; provide a short timeframe for the implementation of the revised policy after closure of the public consultation period.

“We are convinced that the failure to revise this policy is not due to carelessness or incompetence, but is deliberate and aimed at accommodating certain developers. Whilst this revision is supposedly underway, new applications for so-called fuel stations continue to be submitted under a defective policy that allows 3,000m² fuel stations on natural and agricultural land designated as ODZ. There are currently 14 applications for ODZ fuel stations, with four of them approved already, and the others being processed. Together, they constitute a size equal to five times the Floriana Granaries. As can be seen from the completed ODZ fuel stations, these are more akin to shopping-complexes rather than fuel stations.

“It is also clear that the PA’s deplorable behaviour in this case is reflective of its general approach to development in our country, always favouring the wealthy few at the expense of the rest. Presently, whole communities find themselves besieged by senseless development that is wrecking Malta’s quality of life and environment. People have reached the point of dreading to think what Malta will look and feel like in a few years.”

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