Land Reclamation: Civil Society being ignored

AD – The Green Party is worried that the Government’s attitude towards land reclamation may lead to considerable negative ecological impacts.

Carmel Cacopardo AD Acting Chairman said that Government’s proposal as announced in the budget presentation in Parliament, the publication of a call for expressions of interest from those interested in development on land reclaimed from the sea can lead to mistaken decisions causing considerable environmental and economic damage.

AD is of the opinion that if Government is to insist on its proposal for land reclamation it should first present a draft strategy which should be subject to a public consultation. This strategy should be based on studies already carried out and on such additional studies which government considers it necessary to commission. It is completely mistaken, added Carmel Cacopardo, to first receive development proposals from interested parties and then tailor a strategy to fit the interests of the construction industry and developers. This country has the duty to protect its marine environment. The stakeholders are not just the developers and the construction industry. There is also civil society which is completely ignored in Government’s plans.

The draft strategy should take into consideration the fact that presently there are more than 70,000 vacant residential properties built on land. This is a situation arrived at after the excessive building construction permitted during the past years. There is certainly no need of extending this irresponsible behaviour on land reclaimed from the sea. This government risks ruining Malta’s coastline with building development, just as previous governments did to the countryside.

Government, concluded Cacopardo, is duty bound in terms of various European Union Directives to be clear as to its intentions but also to subject these to a public consultation. There is also the duty of subjecting such plans to a detailed analysis as is provided for in the Strategic Environment Assessment Directive of the EU which forms an integral part of
Maltese law.

AD-The Green Party appeals to Government not to abdicate its responsibilities.