Review of MEPA ODZ and agricultural land use policies – AD

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Review of MEPA ODZ and agricultural land use policies - ADIssues of environmental concern should be factored into ODZ land use planning polcies. This was stated by Carmel Cacopardo, Deputy Chairperson and spokesperson on Sustainable Development and Local Government of Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party.

This was done in submissions made during the Public Consultation exercise carried out by MEPA relative to the terms of reference on the review of ODZ and agricultural policies.

AD, added Cacopardo considers that land use policies Outside the Development Zone and in agricultural areas should pay particular attention to issues of biodiversity as well as those activities which heavily contaminate the water table.

Carmel Cacopardo further explained that AD considers that light and acoustic pollution in ODZs and agricultural areas should be regulated. Furthermore, he added agro-tourism should be limited to utilising the existing footprint of validly built agricultural holdings.

Arnold Cassola, AD Chairperson, concluded by stating that whilst it is reasonable to revise and update land use planning policies periodically, Alternattiva Demokratika hopes that this revision will not serve to justify development outside the development zones as has regularly happened in the recent and not so recent past.

The objectives of the review are:

1. to consolidate policies into one concise document;

2. to ensure a balance between the protection of the environment and development in areas Outside Development Zone (ODZ);

3. to improve upon the policies and simplify the planning process related to agriculture in order to assist the genuine farmer;

4. to encourage water conservation and to ensure the sustainable management of water resources;

5. to provide new opportunities for agriculture diversification by farm gate sales, visitor attractions and agro-tourism accommodation;

6. to redevelop/rehabilitate permitted buildings (including pre 1967 buildings) with the scope of eliminating the damaging visual intrusion on the rural scene;

7. to make good use of scheduled historic buildings Outside Development Zone.

The full submission of AD to MEPA is as follows :

In consolidating the different policy documents related to ODZ and agricultural policies there should be specific attention to factor in issues of environmental concern. In particular issues of biodiversity as well as activities which heavily contaminate the water table should be focused upon as requiring specific attention.

In addition to issues of light pollution and acoustic pollution should be considered as worthy of attention.

The encouragement of agro-tourism, which should not be limited to accomodation, should ensure that this is done within the footprint of existing agricultural holdings validly built.

In view of the above two points should be added to the review objectives of the ODZ and agricultural policies:

8. To ensure that environmental protection issues are factored in all matters concerning rural development,

9. To ensure that light pollution and acoustic pollution are given due weight Outside the Development Zone.

In addition term of reference number 5 should be amended to read as follows :

5. To provide new opportunities for agricultural diversification by farm gate sales, visitor attractions and agro-tourism. This should be done within the exisiting footprint of validly built agricultural holdings.

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