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!

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

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.