The Malta Independent 22 January 2019, Tuesday

PN claims government did not conduct studies in appeal to stop Bulebel extension

Julian Bonnici Tuesday, 13 February 2018, 17:47 Last update: about 12 months ago

The Nationalist Party has appealed to the government to change its decision to "destroy 120,000 square meters of land which has agricultural, historical and biological value" in its proposed extension of the industrial estate in Bulebel in Zejtun; claiming that the government has failed to conduct legally obliged studies.

In a joint statement from PN spokespersons Jason Azzopardi (Environment), Marthese Portelli (Planning) and Edwin Vassallo (Agriculture), the party claimed that the proposal runs directly against the government's own policy document, the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development.


"Rural Object 1 of SPED clearly states that good agricultural land should be protected from being developed. Rural Objective 2 also states that where development cannot be done elsewhere than rural areas, one must choose a place that is already identified as an area of containment, has been previously developed, or already has a building on it; all while ensuring that the proposed development will improve the rural environment," the statement read.

It was further explained that the local plan for the south of Malta also states that the land, which was identified as having 'high-grade agricultural value', must require a study before any industrial development can be permitted.

"This decision will come at a loss for the farmers who work the land and the community in Zejtun. Joseph Muscat is not saying the truth when he says that the land is solely being identified for industrial development."

The PN said it believes in sustainable development and went on to address specific questions to the Prime Minister, the Minister for the Environment Jose Herrera, and the Minister for Planning Ian Borg.

- To confirm whether these studies have taken place and to publish them should they have been conducted.

- To explain why the PM never made reference to this legal obligation.

- To inform what meetings have taken place between the Environment Minister and the farmers.

- To also provide information on which companies want their factories in the industrial estate, and whether any of them are involved in the production of medicinal cannabis.

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