The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Budget 2019: A tree to be planted for every new car; €100m to be invested in roads next year

Monday, 22 October 2018, 20:31 Last update: about 23 days ago

The planting of a tree for every new car that is imported into the country and €100 million in road infrastructure investment are amongst the highlights of this year's infrastructural and environmental budgetary measures.

Road Infrastructure: €100 million in road works, new urban gardens

The last budget saw the presentation of a €700 million investment plan spread out over seven years for the arrangement of all the roads across Malta and Gozo.  As part of this plan, Scicluna announced that there would be €100 million invested into Malta's road network in 2019. 

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In tandem with these infrastructural projects, Infrastructure Malta will this year also have a fund of €1 million to construct Urban Gardens which will mean more green spaces which not only beautify the areas but also serve as a place of recreation for residents in the area.

Recycling: New recycling facilities, bottle deposit scheme in the works

In the coming year, a new Material Recovery Facility will be constructed to replace that which caught fire recently, and will act as a temporary piece of waste infrastructure that will act to limit the amount of recyclable waste that the country has to export.

To complement this facility, plans for a separate Multi-Material Recovery Facility will also be kicked off.  This facility will also help with the recycling of various materials which would otherwise end up in the landfill.

Proposals for the sustainable regulation of commercial waste will also be on the table in the coming year, as will plans for a new Waste-to-Energy plant.

Discussions on the implementation of a bottle deposit scheme will also take place with a consortium of operators and importers.

 

Environment: A tree for every new car, legislation on excessive noise

Scicluna announced that to continue on last year's proposal which saw a new tree being planted for every birth, this year a new tree will be planted for every newly imported vehicle that comes into the country.  There will also be added investment in Malta's national parks, and work will take place for the opening of the country's first 'Geopark' as well.

'Management plans' for all Natura 2000 sites will be implemented, and there will be additional investment in the upkeep of Malta and Gozo's valleys as well. 

Legislation focusing on excessive noise and a harmonised system of enforcement for such excessive noise will also be in the works, Scicluna announced.

A national strategy for the environment and a strategy for the management of alien species are also on the agenda for the upcoming year, as is a new station for the monitoring of air quality.

Agriculture & Fisheries: Renewed focus on agri-business, new fisheries control hub in Marsa

Speaking about the agricultural sector, Scicluna said that the government would continue to promote Maltese products and add further investment into the viticulture research centre in Buskett. 

Focus will also be given to restructuring the agricultural sector into one that is more profitable and which would encourage more farmers to look at the sector through the lens of agri-business rather than traditional farming.

The fisheries sector was also touched upon, with Scicluna saying that there would be investment in the Aquaculture Centre at San Lucjan, and a new control hub will be developed in Marsa as well.  A scheme for the restoration of wooden fishing boats that are more than 20 years old will also be implemented.

Water and Energy: Prices to remain stable, new mobile app to monitor bills and consumption

Scicluna said that the price for water and electricity would remain stable, as would the price for fuel. 

The Water and Energy Agency will continue to provide energy audits to families and enterprises that make use of renewable energy, whilst it will continue to assist vulnerable individuals by changing old appliances and replacing them with new ones.

Enemalta will strengthen several distribution centres, including those in Paceville, Marsaskala, and Kappara so to better cater for the electricity demands of the said localities.  Work on automating a number of other substations will also be carried out, whilst the transformers in Tarxien's distribution centre will also be changed.

ARMS will also see improvements in its call centre, whilst an upgrade in ARMS' Smart Utilities Portal will take place, along with a new mobile app that clients can use to have easier access to their consumption and bills.

Enemed meanwhile will be modernising its storage facilities at Hal-Saptan, developing a new filling station, and modernising its storage facilities for jet fuel at the Malta International Airport.

For water meanwhile, whilst investment in the reverse osmosis plants in both Malta and Gozo will continue; a new tunnel between the reverse osmosis plant in Pembroke and a host of wells in Ta' Qali will also be constructed. 

Water extraction from below ground will continue, Scicluna said, but an automated system and additional controls will be instituted so to make sure that the said extraction is done in the most sustainable manners.

Incentives are also planned for families who wish to restore their home well, whilst a grant for a VAT rebate for the installation of reverse osmosis systems in homes will be introduced.  This latter grant will be capped at €70.

Rehabilitation works in the pumping stations at Ta' Kandja and Ta' Bakkja, and the one at Chadwick Lakes will take place, whilst a detailed plan to develop more flood prevention measures and measures which maximise the use of rain water will also be drawn up.

 


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