Is-Saħta tal-Mistra

Qatt daqs f’dawn l-aħħar jiem ma kien ċar li l-PN qed iġorr fuqu s-saħta tal-Mistra.

Il-proposta ta’ JPO biex jitkeċċa RCC mill-PN ma kienitx sostnuta minn provi li jiġġustifikaw tali azzjoni. L-istess tip ta’ provi li kienu meħtieġa fil-Parlament meta minkejja li ma kienux hemm il-mozzjoni ta’ ċensura dwar RCC xorta kienet approvat.

Jidher ċar li kull min miss mal-kaz tal-Mistra ta’ qabel l-elezzjoni ġenerali 2008 ma tistax tiġih waħda tajba.

“X’għamilt ħażin?” qal JPO lil Gordon Pisani f’diskursata bejniethom fil-presenza ta’ avukat meta sar magħruf li kien hemm kuntratt dwar l-art tal-Mistra u d-disco proġettat?

Kien ikun aħjar kieku Pisani wieġbu : “x’għamilt tajjeb?”

Sa dakinhar li faqqa’ l-każ tal-Mistra l-kredenzjali ambjentali ta’ JPO kienu tajba ħafna. Il-kampanja biex iwaqqaf is-simenterija taċ-Ċaqnu kif ukoll il-kampanja kontra l-miżbla (landfill) ħdejn l-Imnajdra kienu fost l-aħjar mumenti tiegħu. Tant li għal xi żmien kien deskritt bħal wieħed mill-politiċi bl-aħjar kredenzjali ambjentali f’Malta. Kien ingħata t-titlu ta’ The green politician of the year.

Issa minn persuna li ħadmet daqstant favur l-ambjent bilfors tistenna li qabel ma jieħu pass iqis sewwa. Jara l-impatti ta’ dak li jkun qiegħed jippjana b’mod iktar metikoluż minn ħaddieħor. Sfortunatament il-kuntratt li JPO kellu dwar il-Mistra u xtaq jaħbi (“mhux aħjar ma tkunx taf” qal lill-Pisani) juri li l-introjtu pekjunjarju kien l-iktar ħaġa importanti għal JPO.  Il-ħarsien dovut lill-Mistra skond dak li tipprovdi d-Direttiva dwar il-Habitats kien xi ħaġa irrelevanti.

F’dan kollu kien mgħejjun minn kultura ta’ irresponsabbilta fl-istrutturi tal-MEPA li qieset li ma kien hemm xejn ħażin filli żviluppatur jew persuna interessata fi żvilupp tiltaqa’ ma’ membri tal-Bord fil-magħluq, minn wara dahar kulħadd.

X’hemm ħażin?

Il-PN għażel li jipprova jgħatti dan kollu. Issa il-PN jeħtieġ li jħallas il-kontijiet talli ma kellux il-kuraġġ morali li jgħid li JPO żbalja. Irid iħallas il-kontijiet talli ipprova jpinġi lil JPO bħala l-vittma, meta l-vera vittma kienet il-komunita’, li suppost kellha MEPA biex tiddefendiha u minnflok kienet kompliċi ma’ JPO.

Kull min iċċappas mal-każ irid jerfa’ l-piż u jġorr fuq spallejħ is-saħta tal-Mistra. Anke RCC flimkien ma’ Gonzi u JPO għandu responsabbilta morali għal dak li ġara minħabba l-pariri li ta. Anke’ jekk kienu biss ta’ damage control.

Il-Partit Laburista li permezz ta’ Alfred Sant kellu l-karti f’idejh qabel l-elezzjoni tal-2008 tilef l-inizzjattiva minn idejh.  Sant iddeskriva lil JPO bħala morally and  politically corrupt. Imma s-suċċessur tiegħu m’għandux skrupli li jindiehes ma JPO u jipprova jinqeda bih. Huwa u jimxi b’dan il-mod Muscat qed juri li anke’ hu m’huwiex interessat f’servizz iżda f’logħba ċess. L-iskop aħħari  li jqarreb il-jum li jkun fil-gvern il-Labour, għal Muscat jiġġustifika kollox. Jiġġustifika kull mezz li jintuża. L-aqwa li jdgħajjef lill-għadu poltiku tiegħu.

Meta Muscat jimxi b’dan il-mod ikun qed juri għal darba oħra li m’hemmx x’tagħżel bejn il-PN u l-PL. Il-politika l-ġdida tagħhom hi nieqsa mill-valuri. Hi nieqsa mill-impenn favur dak li hu sewwa.  Huma interessati fil-maniġġi u fil-mossi: mhux daqstant dawk li jġibu lilhom il-quddiem, daqskemm dawk li jpoġġu lin-naħa l-oħra f’dawl ħażin.

Is-saħta tal-Mistra JPO raxxa ukoll fuq il-Labour.

Il-mozzjoni dwar RCC kien l-ewwel pass li deher.  Biha l-Labour ingħata l-opportunita’ li jidher kif fil-fatt hu: partit bla sinsla.

Il-PN ma jixraqlux ikun iżjed fil-Gvern. Pero’ il-Labour ma joffrix soluzzjoni. Għax minn ġot-taġen nispiċċaw fin-nar!

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Barely scratching the surface

The Noise White Paper, just published for public consultation, identifies the need to coordinate the existing fragmented administrative structures as its first target. This is being done in the belief that it will eventually lead to a smoothening out of administrative inconsistencies. Better coordination could also ensure that, in the long term, issues in respect of which the authorities have, to date, been reluctant to act upon can be addressed in an appropriate manner. Hopefully.

The White Paper deals with the abatement of neighbourhood noise. Its reach should have been much wider. It postpones dealing with the noise generated by fireworks and village feasts to some future date. Cultural aspects and tradition are reasons used to justify this postponement. In reality, the government at this time cannot withstand the anticipated reaction of the fireworks lobby, which has yet to come to terms with restrictions based on safety as is evidenced by reactions to the findings and recommendations of the November 2011 inquiry report on accidents in fireworks factories. Clearly, the government considers that now is not the time to regulate excessive fireworks noise. On the eve of a general election, votes are considered to be a more important consideration.

We have been informed (correctly) that the EU Environmental Noise Directive is not applicable to our airport because the traffic it handles is below the established threshold.

The White Paper does not address the issue of noise generated by aircraft approaching or taking off from Malta’s only airport when flying over residential areas. In particular, the impact of approaching aircraft on Birżebbuġa’s residential area at all times of the day (including during the night) comes to mind.

Now, to be fair, one must state that the airport cannot be transferred to any other site. The flight paths leading to the airport are fixed and their use is determined by the prevalent winds. Malta needs its only airport to be operational. Yet, its operation must be such that it does not cause unnecessary hardship to residential areas along the approaches to and around the airport.

This leaves only one option: regulating the airport’s operating times to restrict aircraft movements during the silent hours as is done at Heathrow, Brussels and Fiumicinio, to mention three airports with which readers are familiar.

The airport authorities need to encourage the use of less noisy aircraft through the determination of differentiated aircraft landing charges dependent on the noise generated by the aircraft. It is about time that the airport authorities start respecting the surrounding communities. This is a missing but essential element of the airport’s sustainable development strategy.

The Noise White Paper draws up a list of those authorities that are empowered to regulate some aspect of noise control. One would expect that the police, the Malta Tourism Authority, the health authorities and the Malta Environment and Planning Authority coordinated by the Noise Control Board to now be in a better position to ensure that commercial outlets (particularly those in a mixed use area) are no longer a nuisance to residents in the vicinity.

It should also be less problematic to deal with nuisance caused by air conditioners fixed in the most awkward places.

But noise does not only impact the health of human beings. It also has a health impact on flora and fauna. This is partly regulated through the Habitats Directive of the EU, which is an integral part of Maltese law.

It is positive that the Noise White Paper recognises this and emphasises the need to ensure its implementation. This should now place more onus on Mepa to ascertain that open-air activities generating excessive noise are immediately brought to order. Examples that come to mind are open air discos at Buskett, Paradise Bay and Ta’ Qali. The first two impact biodiversity in Natura 2000 sites and the last is too close to residential areas, particularly Attard. The aborted Mistra “Spin Valley Disco”, which the Nationalist Party and its stooges at Mepa defended before the 2008 election, would also fall foul of these provisions as it was sited right in the middle of a special area of conservation.

Excessive noise also has a damaging impact on the welfare of animals, both farm animals and pets. The impact of noise on farms and agriculture is completely ignored by the White Paper.

Fireworks regulations, for example, are only concerned with residential areas and the distances to be observed from areas that serve as a residence for more than 100 humans.

Excessive noise in agricultural areas severely impacts agricultural production (like milk, poultry, eggs, rabbits…) and can have a considerable economic impact.

It is up to the minister in question to decide whether to prefer the fireworks at the expense of negative impacts on animal husbandry. He may not worry unnecessarily as animals do not vote!

While the White Paper on Noise Prevention is welcome, it barely scratches the surface. We need to go deeper and tackle areas ignored by the White Paper because noise pollution is an issue that has been neglected for far too long.

 

This article was published in The Times of Malta , April 14, 2012

 

on the same subject on this blog :

7th February 2009 : The value of silence

7th November 2009 : When pigs are able to vote

Mental Gymnastics at MEPA

Over the past two years, three special areas of conservation were in the news: Mistra (Spin Valley disco), Baħrija Valley and, now, Dwejra. Next in the news will be the White Rocks sports development, bordering Pembroke.

The Director for Environment Protection at the Malta Environment and Planning Authority is on record as saying that an SAC should not be “a keep-out zone”. To my knowledge, no one has made such an assertion. It is, however, to be underlined that permissible activities in and around SACs are limited in terms of the EU Habitats Directive.

Decisions of the Environment Protection Directorate relative to SACs need to be adequately motivated. This is unfortunately not always apparent. What is also very clear at this stage is that the Environment Protection Directorate seems to have been kept out of the process leading to the original decision on the use of the Dwejra site, only to be pushed onto the frontline at the eleventh hour when a damage limitation exercise was embarked upon.

The Habitats Directive is very clear. As a rule, it permits activities on and in the vicinity of SACs only if these activities are required for the purpose of managing the site. Other activities may also be permitted but when this is the case they are subject to stringent procedures and conditions.

The Habitats Directive (transposed into Maltese legislation by Legal Notice 311 of 2006) may permit an activity in or in the vicinity of an SAC provided the Environment Protection Directorate determines it is not detrimental to the site either on its own or cumulatively with other activities.

However, in so determining, the Environment Protection Directorate has to carefully consider the proposed activity and correlate it to all the characteristics of the SAC. In particular, it should also consider what is known as the “corridor effect”. That is, whether an activity in or outside an SAC is likely to have an impact on any area of the SAC or another protected area in the vicinity, say a marine conservation area as is the case in Dwejra.

An SAC should be considered as a whole and should not be parcelled into areas where activity is permissible and others where it is not, as Mepa seems to be suggesting. Malta cannot go on with declaring areas to be SACs only to subsequently commence mental gymnastics in order to invent exceptions whenever the need to justify something crops up.

Analysing statements made after the Dwejra saga, it is clear Mepa failed to do the above. By stating the site was “bare rock”, worse still, by stating there is no eco-system to protect (even if this absurd statement was later retracted), Mepa in my view abdicated its responsibilities as the competent authority entrusted by the EU to act on its behalf to manage SACs, which are today part of an EU Natura 2000 network.

At least two parallel investigations are under way. One by the Mepa audit officer, the other by independent experts to scientifically examine and report on any impacts on the site as a result of the permit issued by Mepa.

So far, the applicant (Fire and Blood Productions) and the sub-contractor have been censured for not observing the permit conditions imposed by Mepa. However, no official comment as to whether Mepa overstepped its brief in issuing the Dwejra permit has yet been made. This I submit is the primary pending matter as, in my view, Mepa should never have authorised the placing of sand at Dwejra.

Earlier this year, in an article entitled Land Speculation At White Rocks (July 7) I had written about another SAC, that at Pembroke. The proposal there does not involve the temporary placing of sand but the development of a sports complex in an area which is very close to the Pembroke SAC. In view of conflicting information it is not yet clear how and to what extent this proposal impacts the Pembroke SAC.

After considering the manner in which SACs have been mismanaged by Mepa in Mistra, Baħrija, Dwejra and, now, possibly Pembroke it is legitimate to ask why the government has bothered to declare them as areas worthy of protection.

It is clear so far the government is only interested in paying lip service to such issues and, subsequently, to engage in mental gymnastics to justify anything.

As stated by Parliamentary Secretary Mario de Marco (The Cost Of Decisions That Count, The Times, November 27) one should not use this serious incident to discount the validity of a number of environmental initiatives. However, if the government wants to be taken seriously on environmental issues it must put its house in order. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be a priority.

 

Published in The Times of Malta, Saturday December 4, 2010

Mistra : Development Planning Act ignored

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published on November 10, 2009

by Carmel Cacopardo

 

 

A number of correspondents have worked overtime to cloud the issues on the Mistra case.

As a result the focus of the discussion has been the Mepa Audit Officer when it should in reality be whether and to what extent the Development Planning Act permits a resolution of such issues within Mepa itself.

The basic relevant facts of the Mistra case are the following :

1) the Planning Directorate finalised its report (DPAR) recommending the refusal of the Mistra application,

2) those with an interest in having an approval of the application sought the services of the liaison officer, a Mepa employee with specific terms of remit to liaise with the DCC;

3) the liaison officer, instead of applying the procedures established by the Development Planning Act, organised a meeting in which a number of DCC Board members participated;

4) the DCC overturned the decision and approved the issuing of a development permit;

5) the matter was on the eve of a general election made public by the Leader of the Opposition;

6) an investigation was carried out by the Mepa Audit Officer as a result of which the Mepa Board withdrew the permit.

In the discussion as to what went wrong (if at all) during the final stages of the processing of the Mistra application, the correspondents overlooked the fact that the Development Planning Act (DPA) itself provided a clear solution. Article 32A of the DPA (introduced in 2001) provides for the intervention of a planning mediator. An applicant seeking development permission may after the conclusion of the application report by the Director of Planning seek mediation which shall be provided from a panel of planning mediators appointed by the minister responsible for development planning. Obviously the services of a planning mediator will be sought when there is lack of agreement on the contents and/or conclusions of the application report as in the Mistra case.

The planning mediator will after considering the matter express an opinion which is then brought to the attention of the Mepa Board/DCC which is bound to consider it but is not bound by it.

The planning mediators appointed must be qualified in terms of sub-article 32A(2) of the Development Planning Act: they shall be versed in planning or in architecture and civil engineering or in any other discipline relevant to planning. The liaison officer appointed by Mepa is not versed in any of these disciplines. In addition his terms of remit circumvent the provisions of the DPA as they usurp the functions of the planning mediator.

Notwithstanding that eight years have elapsed since Parliament introduced the provision on planning mediation in the DPA, the panel of planning mediators has not to date been appointed. Nor have the relevant regulations on planning mediation been drawn up. Two politicians are directly responsible for this state of affairs: Minister George Pullicino (2001-8) and Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (2008- ).

In view of the above, in my opinion the meetings attended by the DCC members behind closed doors to iron out difficulties arising out of the report prepared by the Director of Planning runs counter to the procedure for the resolution of such difficulties established by the DPA itself.

It is very difficult to understand how it is possible to conclude that everything was done above board when all this was ignored.

But then, in this blessed land everything is possible.

Mr Cacopardo is a spokesman on sustainable development of Alternattiva Demokratika and former investigating officer at the Mepa Audit Office.

Spin Valley revisited

 

 Yes%20We%20Can%201

 

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando’s  Spin Valley is in the news once more.

 

MEPA has issued a permit for the use of a site at Mistra for a one-off open air disco party to be held this evening Saturday 30 May 2009 in an area protected in terms of the Habitat’s Directive of the EU.

11 months ago, on the 26th June 2008 the MEPA BOARD had withdrawn an outline permit for a permanent open-air disco on the same site in view of the fact that the proposed activities were not compatible with the same Habitat’s Directive of the EU.

MEPA has the duty to explain why it has changed its mind within the short space of 11 months when nothing else has changed : no changes to legislation, no changes to the boundaries of the protected area.

When the Government of Malta decided to designate a number of areas as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) it accepted that it had to follow the relative EU rules.  These included that the activities permitted in these SACs had to be compatible with the conservation objectives of the protected sites. Government also had to draw up management plans for the sites in order that priorities for the use of the sites is  established in such a way that the conservation objectives of the EU Habitats’ Directive are achieved.

These management plans have not been drafted to date with the result that the Competent Authority in Malta (MEPA) has effectively given itself a free hand to decide on each case separately without necessarily keeping in view the objectives of the EU Habitats Directive.

 This morning on behalf of AD together with Arnold Cassola and Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer, AD’s candidates for the EU Parliamentary elections, I explained the above during a press conference  at Mistra and announced that AD will be requesting the EU Environment Commissioner to investigate Malta’s mismanagement of SACs in breach of its obligations defined in the EU Habitats Directive.

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l to r : Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer, Arnold Cassola, Carmel Cacopardo

___________________________________________________________

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The Press Conference with Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando listening on in the background.

Tat-Turiżmu b’liġi għalihom !

 

 

 

Fi tmiem il-ġimgħa  ġie rappurtat fil-gazzetti dak li qal fil-Qorti iċ-Ċhairman tal-Awtorita’ Maltija tat-Turiżmu (MTA).

 

L-MTA trid, qal Sam Mifsud illi ż-żid il-faċilitajiet tad-divertiment fit-tramuntana tal-pajjiż u għal dan l-iskop għandha politika li tiżviluppa l-kosta.

 

U għalina, n-nies il-komuni x’ser jibqa’ ? It-turiżmu ma ħax biżżejjed mill-kosta ? U mbagħad ma jaħsibx is-Sur Mifsud li qabel ma jibda jfajjar illi jkun aħjar li jara li dak li jgħid jaqbel mal-politika ambjentali tal-pajjiż – dik il-politika jiġifieri li Malta kella taddotta biex tissieħeb fl-Unjoni Ewropea ?

 

Għax meta tisma’ lil tat-Turiżmu jitkellmu taħseb li dawn għandhom liġi għalihom. Ħarsu per eżempju lejn il-każ tal-Mistra (ta’ l-art ta’ Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, jiġifieri). L-MTA  qed tgħid li taqbel mal-iżvilupp propost. Qiesu id-Direttiva tal-EU dwar il-Habitats ma tapplikax fejn jinteressa l-MTA. Skond din id-Direttiva niftakru illi f’art li hi protetta bħal dik tal-Mistra, fiha ma jista’ jsir l-ebda xogħol. L-anqas ma jista’ jintmiss ħajt tas-sejjieħ. Aħseb u ara dak li kien propost.

 

Tista’ l-MTA ikollha liġi għaliha ?

 

U bilħaqq, l-MTA tiftaħar li trid turiżmu sostenibbli !

 

Ma nagħti tort lil ħadd jekk wara dan kollu nikkonkludu li l-pajjiż ikun aħjar mingħajr l-Awtorita’ tat-Turiżmu !

Wara Spin Valley ……….. is-supermarket ?

 

 

 

 

 

Ilkoll segwejna mill-qrib l-iżviluppi dwar l-skandlu ta’ Spin Valley fil-Mistra. L-istorja kollha għad trid tinkiteb.

 

Illum ingħalaq kapitlu ieħor fl-istorja ta’ Spin Valley meta l-Bord tal-MEPA dal-għodu rtira l-permess(Outline) li kien inħareġ mid-Diviżjoni A tal-Kummissjoni għall-Kontroll ta’ l-Iżvilupp.

 

Prosit.

 

Issa jmiss iżda li l-MEPA tuża l-istess kejl ma’ permessi oħra li jixirqilhom trattament simili. L-ewwel fuq il-lista hemm is-supermarket fil-limiti ta’ Ħal-Kirkop/Ħal-Safi u li dwaru l-istess Diviżjoni ‘A’ tal-Kummissjoni għall-Kontroll ta’ l-Iżvilupp approvat permess minkejja r-rakomandazzjoni kuntrarja tad-Direttorat tal-Ippjanar kif ukoll minkejja li dan kien barra miż-żona tal-iżvilupp.

 

Għal min nesa’ xi ftit infakkar li l-awditur tal-MEPA kien investiga l-ħruġ tal-permess ta’ dan is-supermarket u kien ikkonkluda li dan ma kellux joħroġ.

 

Tiftakru li kienet irreżenjat il-Kummissjoni kollha, ftit minuti wara li ħareġ ir-rapport ? Iffriskaw ftit il-memorja.

 

 

SPIN VALLEY

Stqarrija tal-AD 

 

 

AD qed issegwi dak kollu li qiegħed jintqal dwar il-każ tal-art fil-Mistra
propjeta’ tal-Membru Parlamentari tal-PN Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando.

L-AD diġa tkellmet ċar fuq dak li huwa magħruf sa issa. Għaldaqstant f’dan
il-mument tħoss li jkun xieraq li tiddeplora l-attakki li qed isiru fuq il-Perit
Joe Falzon Uffiċjal tal-Verifika tal-MEPA.

L-AD jidhrilha ukoll li d-dewmien fil-konkuzjoni tal-investigazzjoni
mill-awtoritajiet kompetenti qiegħed inissel diversi suspetti. Każijiet ferm
iktar ikkumplikati ħadu inqas minn 48 siegħa biex ġew konklużi. Iktar dewmien
ser jirrinforza l-idea ġenerali li hemm min irid imewwet il-każ.

Nittamaw li l-investigazzjonijiet, li ilhom ghaddejjin iktar minn xahrejn, jiġu
konklużi. Il-konkluzjonijiet flimkien ma dawk tar-rapport tal-Uffiċjal
tal-Verifika tal-MEPA għandhom iwasslu biex mingħajr dewmien tkun magħrufa minn kulhadd l-istampa kollha. Aktar ma huma gravi l-każijiet aktar għandhom jitħaffu l-proċeduri u r-riżultati ta’ l-investigazjoni. B’hekk biss tista’ tikber
il-fiduċja tan-nies fl-istituzzjonijiet tal-pajjiz.

 

MEPA : the fundamental flaw

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Published on March 29, 2008  by Carmel Cacopardo

(Note : the words in green do not appear in the article as published, for some reason they disappeared in transit !)

 

 

Mepa reform is finally on the national agenda. Mepa will never be a popular organisation as most of its decisions are simultaneously viewed as acceptable or unacceptable by different sectors of society. Unfortunately, though understandably, it is the issuance of development permits and the related activities which are at the forefront contributing to the public’s perception of Mepa. Lately the matter of public consultation and the extent to which this should be carried out has been an additional issue of contention.

There is but one basic point, simple to point out but too complex for some to comprehend. Mepa’s mission is that of acting on behalf of the whole Maltese community (both present and future generations) in ensuring that development, in its drive to create wealth, conforms to the eco-system of which we form part as well as the social structures in existence from time to time. This is what sustainable development is all about. In carrying out its endeavours, Mepa has no right to discount the future.

This is the measure of Mepa’s failure. It has failed the Maltese community as a whole. Within this context, the suspension by the Prime Minister of the development permit functions at Mepa so soon after resuming office is significant even if for a limited period of two weeks.

There are obviously responsibilities which have to be shouldered and these can be traced to those who opted over the years to channel their allegiance away from the community!

What is the purpose of defining controversial limits of development if these are infringed the moment they are approved? The Local Plans, effective as of August 2006, are controversial enough. Land owners wanted much more; environmentalists much less.

In the past weeks, the audit report on the proposed Lidl supermarket at Safi was published: Development was permitted outside the development zone. The members of the Mepa Development Control Commission resigned on publication of the Mepa audit officer report, which censored them for approving the said application. Will that development permit be repealed?

The Mistra tragedy is still unfolding. At the time of writing one thing is crystal clear: Another development permit, even if only an “outline” one, was issued not only in an area which lies outside the development zone but which is also protected in terms of the EU Habitats Directive, possibly exposing Malta to infringement procedures.

In both cases (Safi and Mistra), the technical personnel at Mepa recommended a refusal of the applications under consideration. Yet, their recommendations were discarded without any valid justification by the DCC.

Now the NGO Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) has revealed that over two thousand five hundred development permits have been issued by Mepa outside the development zone in the past three years. In such a situation do the Local Plans have any further relevance? It is only a question of time when other irregularities will be identified.

Isn’t it logical to conclude that the members of the DCC who have approved these development permits are as a minimum not aware of their responsibilities? Who will assume political responsibility for these appointments and the consequences thereof?

Accountability has to filter down through the ranks but it has to exist at the very top of the pyramid.

Land use planning is a political process. One cannot take politics out of it. The politicians in charge have to assume responsibility for their actions and decisions. Once they have determined the parameters and approved the policies within which the community can be protected, they should refrain from further involvement: Neither directly nor indirectly. Their role is that of policy makers and not of hands-on managers!

Restoring confidence in Mepa is no easy job. In the recent past no effort was spared to undermine it. Through its actions one could clearly deduce that its loyalty was deliberately steered towards the construction industry.

This is the fundamental flaw which needs addressing. Mepa needs to be loyal to the community made up of both present and future generations. In tackling this flaw one very important tool needs to be used: The financing of political parties needs to be tightly regulated.

The author, an architect, is the spokesman on sustainable development of Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green party in Malta.

cacopardocarm@euroweb.net.mt

 

Ir-rapport dwar il-Mistra

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Ir-rapport tal-Audit Officer tal-MEPA dwar il-każ tal-Mistra li l-Prim Ministru ippubblika iktar kmieni llum ma ħasadnix. Bħalu rajt bosta oħrajn.

Huwa posittiv u ta’ inkoraġġiment li l-Prim Ministru aġixxa mill-ewwel billi ppubblika r-rapport kif ukoll billi rrinforza r-rakkomandazzjonijiet tal-Perit Joe Falzon, l-Audit Officer. Li kieku l-predeċessur tiegħu b’responsabbilta politika għall-MEPA mexa l-istess fil-passat ricenti is-sitwazzjoni fil-MEPA illum kienet tkun ħafna aħjar milli hi.

Ir-rapport tal-Audit Officer iżda m’hiex l-aħħar kelma dwar il-każ. Hemm l-investigazzjonijiet tal-pulizija li għad iridu jkunu konklużi. Hemm ukoll ir-rwol tal-Awtorita tat-Turiżmu (MTA) li jrid ikun iċċarat. Għandu jkun issottolineat li l-MTA għandha esperti fil-qasam tal-Ippjanar impjegati tagħha u ma nistax nifhem kif tasal biex ma tagħtix piż xieraq lill-konsiderazzjonijet ambjentali fil-proġetti li tagħti appoġġ.

Il-Kummissjoni li ħarġet il-permess ilha li rriżenjat. Issa naħseb li wasal il-ħin li jirreżenja ukoll min għamel pressjoni fuq membri tal-Kummissjoni għall-Kontroll tal-Iżvilupp biex jinħareġ permess illegali (ara hawn).