Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (9) Against Fragmentation (of Environmental Governance)


The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 14 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

Against Fragmentation.

MEPA which was established in 2002 through the amalgamation of the Planning Authority and the Department for the Environment has been generally ineffective in carrying out its duty of protecting the environment. This has come about because as a result of the structures created, even after the so-called 2010 reforms, the environmental function of MEPA has been entrusted in the hands of those who consistently indicated that their interest was in encouraging unbridled development. The Directorate for the Protection of the Environment is suffocated and can hardly act except in some exceptional case where it would be to the political benefit of Government.

In addition to this there is a serious problem resulting from the spreading of various environmental responsibilities under different Ministries and Authorities. Fragmentation reduces the effectiveness of any action taken.

In the past AD focused on the need to separate the environmental function from the land use planning function. This emphasis was made as the basic problem then was that the environment protection function was continuously over-ruled by those bent on development at all costs.

AD is today proposing a different solution. This solution is intended to address environment protection and identify it as a central function whilst simultaneously addressing the existing fragmentation: this can be carried out by consolidating all the environmental functions in one authority. We thus propose that MEPA and the Malta Resources Authority (MRA) are brought together in one authority. In a consolidated authority the environmental function should be central and should lead the Planning Directorate to take a secondary role.

The consolidated authority will eliminate existing duplication and will thus lead to a better utilisation of resources as well as trained staff currently on the books at MEPA and MRA .

L-Estratt segwenti hu mehud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 14 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Kontra l-Frammentazzjoni.

Il-MEPA li inħolqot fl-2002 bl-amalgamazzjoni tal-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar u d-Dipartiment tal-Ambjent kienet ħafna drabi ineffettiva fil-qadi ta’ dmirha li tħares l-ambjent. Dan minħabba li bl-istruttura li nħolqot, anke wara l-hekk imsejħa riforma tal-2010 il-ħidma ambjentali tal-MEPA hi fdata f’idejn min konsistentement wera li l-interess tiegħu hu li jinkoraġġixxi l-iżvilupp bla rażan. Id-Direttorat għall-Ħarsien tal-Ambjent fil-MEPA hu maħnuq u ftit li xejn jista’ jaġixxi għajr f’xi eċċezzjoni fejn ikun jaqbel politikament għall-Gvern.

B’żieda ma’ dan hemm problema kbira kkawżata minn responsabbiltajiet ambjentali mifruxa fuq diversi Ministeri u awtoritajiet. Il-frammentazzjoni tnaqqas l-effettività tal-ħidma li ssir.

Fil-passat Alternattiva Demokratika iffokat fuq il-ħtiega tas-separazzjoni tal-funzjoni ambjentali mill-funzjoni tal-ippjanar dwar l-użu tal-art. Din l-enfażi kienet saret minħabba li l-problema prinċipali dakinnhar kienet li l-ħarsien tal-ambjent kien maħnuq minn dawk li riedu jmexxu ’l quddiem l-iżvilupp bla rażan tal-art.

Alternattiva Demokratika illum qed tipproponi soluzzjoni differenti. Din is-soluzzjoni hi intiża biex tindirizza l-importanza li l-ħarsien tal-ambjent ikun il-mutur li jmexxi, iżda ukoll li tkun indirizzat l-frammentazzjoni u dan billi jkunu kkonsolidati l-funzjonijiet ambjentali f’awtorità waħda. Nipproponu għalhekk li jingħaqdu f’awtorità waħda l-MEPA u l-Awtorità dwar ir-Riżorsi (MRA). Fl-awtorità kkonsolidata, il-funzjoni ambjentali għandha tkun dik ċentrali u għandha sservi biex id-Direttorat tal-Ippjanar jieħu funzjoni sekondarja.

L-awtorità kkonsolidata telimina d-duplikazzjoni eżistenti u b’hekk isservi biex ikunu utilizzati aħjar il-faċilitajiet u l-istaff imħarreġ li hemm illum fil-MEPA u l-MRA.

Restructuring the building industry


Both Labour and the PN consider the building industry as a very important element of the economy. AD disagrees and considers that it is time for the building industry to be restructured.

In AD’s manifesto it is stated that : The current slow down of the building industry makes it ripe for restructuring. The first step would be acceptance of the fact that too much of the Maltese islands are built up and that the up-take of more land for building should cease forthwith. Nor can we continue demolishing the core of our towns and villages and replacing them with more intensive development. The restoration of old buildings and their adaptation to uses compatible with today’s needs is the necessary way forward.

With over 70,000 vacant properties it is about time that we take stock of the situation and finally decide that it does not make sense to keep adding to the stock of vacant dwellings.

The rationalisation exercise in 2006 extended the development zones when the 2005 Census  was already clearly indicating that the number of vacant dwellings was on the increase. Yet prodded by developers the PN in government (supported on this issue by the PL) not only increased the limits of development but also increased the permissible heights in various localities. Today the situation is even worse.

The need to restructure the building industry is consistent with AD’s electoral proposals for a moratorium on large scale residential development, and the reversal of the extension of the limits to development and the permissible building heights.   Instead of shedding its surplus labour force the building industry should be encouraged to seek alternative avenues. Applying usefully EU funds Government can assist through training programmes in such areas as traditional building skills, road building and marine construction works.

originally published at on Friday 15 February 2013