The Malta Independent 21 August 2019, Wednesday

Environment Minister confirms seven Wasteserv sites operating without permit

Wednesday, 20 February 2019, 18:32 Last update: about 7 months ago

Jose Herrera, Minister for the Environment, has today confirmed that there are a total of seven Wasteserv sites operating without a permit, in a parliamentary question put forward by PN MP Jason Azzopardi.

This follows a story by The Malta Independent that reported that a number of Wasteserv sites, including parts of the Maghtab landfill complex and Civic Amenity Sites were apparently operating on expired permits.

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Herrera noted that the permits expired in 2018, with one expiring in late 2017. In all cases, there is an application for renewal of the permits, which Herrera said: “take their time.” However, he also said that it would have been much better if the permits were extended before they expired, although he added that one must understand the nature of activity within these sites is essential for this country.

He continued that he does not think that Azzopardi is suggesting that until the process of renewal is ongoing we should cause environmental chaos by closing these sites since essentially the activity is a continuation of what was there before.

Waste treatment facilities, classified as high-risk installations, are controlled through the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and thus require an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) permit. The main aim of the IPPC regulations is to minimise pollution from various point sources, according to the ERA website.

An exercise conducted by this newspaper had found that the Ta' Zwejra non-hazardous engineered landfill in Maghtab is currently operating on a permit that expired on 24 July of last year.

On the other hand, the expiry date of the IPPC permit for Ghallis landfill - another part of the Maghtab facility, was not available. Ghallis takes all the non-recyclable non-hazardous waste generated on a daily basis by households and companies.

There are currently no other landfills in Malta, which means that there is currently no landfill permitted to operate.

This newspaper had also found that three civic amenity sites are also operating under what seemed to be expired permits. Unlike larger waste treatment facilities, CA sites require an Environmental Permit.

An Environmental Permit is one of two ways in which the ERA regulates the environmental impact of industrial installations that can have various environmental impacts, ranging from emissions to air or the marine environment to contamination resulting from accidents.

The current permit for the Luqa civic amenity site expired on 6 June 2018, according to information available on ERA's website.

The civic amenity site at Tal-Kus near Xewkija, Gozo, is operating on a permit that expired on 27 October 2018, and the civic amenity site called Pitkalija, located at Ta' Qali, is operating on a permit that expired on 15 April 2018.

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