Loopholes in SPED should be removed, says Front Harsien ODZ
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Front Harsien ODZ is calling on the the government to strike off two clauses within the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) that is currently being discussed in Parliament.
“According to the draft SPED, development may be permitted in outside development zones where no other feasible alternatives exists in urban areas. It also states that projects of a “sustainable” nature can be permitted in ODZ land “as a last resort where it is essential for the achievement of sustainable development,” the Front said.
The Front expressed agreement with Din l-Art Helwa which has also called for the removal of the two clauses.
“The SPED should be a planning instrument with clear and binding policies aimed at defending the common good and not a vague document aimed at greenwashing ODZ developments like the one proposed at Zonqor.”
Front Harsien ODZ said that it agreed with a previous proposal by Friends of the Earth Malta to include an article in SPED which declares Malta’s ODZ a protected zone and part of the common natural heritage of the Maltese people.
“The designation of land as ODZ is part of the social pact which binds government to protect present and future generations from unsustainable development. Malta has already lost too much of its ODZ land thanks to mistaken decisions taken in past years. We cannot afford to lose more of our land.”
Front Harsien ODZ insisted that construction in ODZ areas is “incompatible with sustainable development except in a few cases where such development is needed for agriculture or for infrastructure which is necessary for the common good like sewage treatment plants which cannot be located within development zones. In all cases involving profit making activities development should be located within the development zone.”
The Front added that, “instead of containing generic loopholes which create more uncertainty, the SPED should seek to close any loopholes by including a clear presumption against ODZ development.”
Front Harsien ODZ also called on the Government to re-include Structure Plan policy CZM 3 – which unambiguously states that “all the coastline will be brought into public ownership within a specified period” in the SPED. “This will ensure that in all planning decisions MEPA will have to consider the coastline to be part of the public domain.”