Another highly damaging development project – FAA

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Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA) regrets to note that another highly damaging development project has been requested that clearly violates Outside Development Zone (ODZ) regulations. The Mellieha Bay Hotel, owned by Albert Mizzi?s company, has applied for the construction of 98 bungalows on the Mellieha ridge, which, if permitted would be another serious blow to the Maltese Natural Environment.

The proposed project is located around the hotel but Outside the Development Zone, in a protected coastal zone of natural beauty, designated as a buffer zone to protect the coastal cliffs and an Area of Ecological Importance and Site of Scientific Importance. Furthermore, the area lies between two proposed Sites of Community Interest, as declared by Government Notice 112 of 2007, and is proposed as part of the Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of International Importance, and Special Protection Area, besides being scheduled. The site is mainly made up of protected garigue and also includes protected trees.

This same speculator of land has been responsible for the negative changes that have taken place at Santa Maria Estate as well as the over-development and environmental damage at Tigne, FAA cannot but be concerned at the project which will eliminate one of the few remaining pristine sites.

MEPA?s regulations stipulate that : No form of urban development will be permitted outside existing and committed built-up areas. Exceptions to this rule are restricted to farming and countryside recreation developments with due caution.

A project of these dimensions should not be considered before a holistic study (SEA) is carried out to assess the tourism needs for this type of accommodation and if such a need is required, where it can best be located in order to avoid the destruction of the Mellieha headland. This especially in the light of the fact that the granting of a permit for these 98 units will invariably lead to further development all along this coast.

FAA would like to publicly appeal to the Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, the new Minister responsible for the Environment, to carry through the much-needed reform of MEPA regulations with urgency, and especially to legislate the principle that applications which violate ODZ regulations and are clearly inappropriate for our countryside are immediately dismissed. The processing of such applications is a huge waste of MEPA?s time and the taxpayer?s money and also opens the door for other such applications to slip through.   The NGO reminds MEPA and the Government that the protection of Malta?s landscape is enshrined in the Constitution, therefore approval of such a project would violate not just MEPA regulations but also Malta?s Constitution.

Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar

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