The Malta Independent 20 February 2019, Wednesday

PN announces proposals to deal with construction waste; do not oppose land reclamation in principle

Albert Galea Tuesday, 12 February 2019, 18:00 Last update: about 6 days ago

It is clear that sustainability is not on the government's agenda, PN MEP candidate Michael Briguglio said as the party unveiled its proposals for dealing with what they called a construction waste crisis that has left the whole country suffering.

PN MP and the party's environment spokesperson Jason Azzopardi said that the "deficient" and "incompetent" had put the country's back against the wall with its "knee-jerk" and "short-sighted" reactions to problems such as construction waste, which had now turned into a crisis due to the government's mis-management of the situation.

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Azzopardi said that the government had, in 2013, made a conscious decision to open the floodgates on construction and base its economic growth on this industry, but it had not made plans to manage the waste that this would create.

He said that a national strategy on construction waste which was based on serious studies particularly taking into account the environmental impact of such waste, whilst also being the bi-product of a proper consultation with all the concerned stakeholders, was needed.

Briguglio meanwhile highlighted that 85% of all the waste generated in Malta was from construction, and listed seven proposals that the PN were putting forward in the hope of mitigating this crisis.

The proposals include new schemes to incentivise the conservation and restoration of existing buildings, new schemes to discourage the demolition of buildings and encourage new methods of recycling waste, incentives for stones and other materials from old houses to be stored instead of discarded so that they can be used for other restoration projects, and schemes for reconstituted stone which can then be exported.

Another proposal is for a consultation process to start for the building of a national facility for construction waste to be picked and re-sold, whilst Briguglio also suggested that more EU funds are allocated to addressing this situation and for schemes that promote the care of the environment around construction zones.

Azzopardi concluded by saying that he would be writing to the chairman of the Environment and Development Planning Committee in Parliament - who is PL MP Alex Muscat - for a discussion on this subject to be put on the agenda.

PN 'in principle' is not against land reclamation - Jason Azzopardi

Asked for the PN's position on land reclamation, Azzopardi said that 'in principle' the PN could not be against land reclamation, but that there was a "way and a way" that this should be done.

Azzopardi noted that when the PN was last in government, they had appointed a British firm - Scott & Wilson - to carry out a study into the topic, which resulted in a 300-page-long detailed report. 

Two elements are crucial for this, Azzopardi said.  These are namely that environmental impact of such reclamation, and the reason behind it.  Azzopardi noted that land reclamation cannot be taken as a solution for a problem resulting from "incompetence" such as the one which the country is facing with waste.

PL statement

In reaction, the PL took note of the PN's declaration on land reclamation."This declaration is a step in the right direction as it means that there is agreement in the country on an issue of such importance."


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