Trees saved at it-Tokk Square Victoria, following FAA court action
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Following Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar’s court action to prohibit MEPA from permitting the intended uprooting of the Ficus trees at it-Tokk, Gozo, “MEPA has confirmed to the court that it will not issue such a permit,” FAA said.
“Claiming they were causing damage, Victoria Local Council had intended to uproot the Ficus trees and replace them with shrubs in planters. Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar had offered the services of a British expert to advise the Local Council on remedies that are available to address the problem, however the Local Council turned down the offer,” FAA said.FAA added that its legal step was intended to signal that it is prepared to take strong action to prevent further destruction of trees in Malta and Gozo.
FAA had maintained that the trees should be retained due to the increasing rate of air pollution in Victoria, since trees absorb air pollutants reducing the rate of asthma, heart disease, and even dementia. “These trees are over seventy years old and therefore supposedly protected by law. They form an historic part of Republic Square, providing cool shade and protecting users of the square from the risk of skin cancer.”FAA pointed out that Dutch research shows that neighbourhoods with good tree cover are significantly healthier. The presence of trees encourages people to exercise, thereby reducing the incidence of heart attacks and diabetes. “Green areas calm people, relieving stress and improving mental health and wellbeing. Patients who can see trees from their hospital beds recover faster too.”
“Trees near buildings can improve home energy efficiency and muffle sound, cutting traffic noise levels. Crime is lower on ‘green’ streets and unattractive buildings can be hidden.
Family and community environments are much more harmonious and close-knit in tree-lined urban streets while students perform better in classes where plants are present.”
In order to encourage the planting and care of trees, FAA is organising a seminar on care of trees in the community along with the President’s Hub for Ethnobotanical Research.
The seminar is to be presented by Ian Lansely, a consultant arborist whose work has involved him in tree management at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court and the Tower Of London. Antoine Gatt , a professional landscape architect and lecturer, will talk about the importance of green infrastructure especially in urban environments.
The seminar which will also give information to encourage the greening of Malta, has been made possible by Transport Malta. TM and FAA are holding a parallel seminar for architects, road contractors and Local Councillors on roadside trees on Friday 5th December which will be addressed by Ian Lansley, Alfred Baldacchino and others.
The public seminars will be held on Wednesday 3rd December, 6.30pm at, San Anton Palace, Attard and on Thursday, the 4th of December, starting at 5,00pm at the Government Experimental Farm, Mgarr Road, Xewkija Gozo.
Registration is required at www.faa.org.mt or on 21310270.
Photographs by FAA: Trees at it-Tokk Square, the trees when they were “cut” and the trees 50 years ago.