Ramblers highlight illegalities at Fromm ir-Rih

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Fomm ir-Rih Bay
The Ramblers Association of Malta (RAM) held their last walk of the season as a protest to highlight the serious problems of accessibility in and degradation of the countryside at Fomm ir-Rih in Malta.

The Association said that the situation at Fomm ir-Rih is symptomatic of the problems of accessibility to and degradation of the countryside that walkers encounter daily throughout Malta and Gozo.

RAM said it has also promised its members that a more aggressive approach would be taken in the coming months since “years of complaints and objections have proven futile.”

A large group of ramblers headed down towards the bay to where the official pathway is completely obliterated. The protest highlighted a number of illegalities, such as the building of a concrete road outside the gate of a private residence and broken boulders through which a road goes down to the foreshore, this prior to a development application being filed with the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.

The Association said that illegal developments there proceed unabated in spite of MEPA enforcements and dismissal of a recent application to sanction the same illegalities. These illegalities are degrading the protected site and comprising its Natura 2000 status.

The Association highlighted the fact that successive administrations have not only failed to uphold a basic public right of way that was established by public deed but also allow the continued blockage of the old road to the peril and inconvenience of citizens desiring to go there.

In a letter to the Director General of the Government Property Division and copied to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, RAM said the protest was the culmination of years of complaints, objections and futile efforts over the situation at Fomm ir-Rih Bay. This explained that while “sympathy and lip-service” were forthcoming from various ministers and authorities, “proceedings on the ground worsened, with the situation deteriorating to unprecedented illegality.”

The Association urged the Government Property Division to “immediately re-establish the public path from the Bahrija side to the foreshore of the bay which was conceded by public deed of 1983 but never maintained.”

Furthermore, the Association called for action to restore the countryside and foreshore to a natural state by removing signs, gates and other obstacles put up without permission to prevent or limit access to the public, to restore blocked pathways and country lanes and to stop the ecological ravage that is illegally going on through unauthorised building and the illicit plantation of invasive trees and plants.

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