AD requests MEPA to release a copy of Dwejra permit

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AD requests MEPA to release a copy of Dwejra permitThrough Carmel Cacopardo its spokesman on Sustainable Development and Local Government Alternattiva Demokratika has said that it has requested that MEPA, under the terms of the Freedom of Access to Information on the Environment Regulations of 2005m to release a copy of the permit (including the relative conditions) which it has issued for filming in the Natura 2000 site of Dwejra Gozo.

Carmel Cacopardo on behalf of AD has also said, "The mauling of the Natura 2000 site at Dwejra Gozo in the year 2010, is another proof that MEPA is either incompetent, or oblivious of its responsibilities, or else it is unwilling to administer such EU Natura 2000 sites in terms of its responsibilities as the Competent Authority for Malta an EU Member State. The Dwejra debacle follows the obscene development permits issued by MEPA in Mistra, Bahrija valley, Ramla l-Hamra Gozo, all Natura 2000 sites. Furthermore it is to be underlined that Malta has received substantial financial aid under the EU Life Project in connection with the management of the Dwejra Natura 2000 site."

AD said the latest incident at Dwejra raises a number of questions in respect of which answers are expected :

1. Why was this permit not monitored when it is well known that filming companies tend to ignore limitations imposed by regulatory authorities ?

2. Why did MEPA not send any of its inspectors at Dwejra, a Natura 2000 site, to monitor adherence to the conditions of the issued permit as is usually done in such cases, thereby ensuring that no damaging actions are taken in hand?

3. Where was the sand used at Dwejra transported from?

4. Did the Works Division in the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs issue a permit for the transportation of sand as is required by article 3 of the Sand Preservation Act ?

5. How can MEPA be sure of the origin of the sand used if it did not carry out adequate monitoring? In particular can it 100% exclude that the sand used was not transported from Ramla l-Hamra, another Natura 2000 site?

6. What legal action will be taken in connection with what has happened?

This incident is a clear manifestation that not only is MEPA not competent to protect and manage the environment, but that environmental matters should not be under the same responsibility of an authority responsible for development which now has to beg to balance its books. It also shows clearly that the Maltese Government through its agencies is not only paying lip service towards the protection of the environment, but to date all it has done has proven to one and all that it does not have an inkling of what environment protection is all about. AD concluded.

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