The Malta Independent 11 July 2020, Saturday

ERA to appeal proposed extension to Dwejra restaurant

Tuesday, 9 July 2019, 18:27 Last update: about 2 years ago

The Environment Authority is going to appeal a proposed extension to a Dwejra restaurant.

The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal had overturned a Planning Authority decision, ordering it to approve a permit for the extension of a restaurant in Dwejra, Gozo. The application was for the installation of another canopy, the installation of lights and the placing of tables and chairs within an the "existing site" of the Azure Window Restaurant.


The planning application had previously rejected the application, saying that "the proposed development would have an adverse impact in an important area and would conflict with Thematic Objective 8 of the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development which aims for the safeguarding and enhancement of biodiversity, cultural heritage, geology and geomorphology." But following an appeal by the applicant, the EPRT has ordered the PA to issue the permit.


The applicant, Godwin Cassar, had argued that the development would have no negative impact on the zone and that it falls within the catering facility that forms part of the Dwejra Interpretation Centre. The development, he argued, would be in line with the area's action plan and would offer visitors shelter from the sun and rain. The EPRT had said that the canopy was intended to serve as a form of shelter for visitors while the new lights, which are replacing existing ones, would be more sensitive to the area's Dark Sky Heritage status.

NGOs then expressed outrage at this decision. Birdlife Malta for example had expressed dismay, largely because the area is home to several Scopolis Shearwaters, which are highly sensitive to light pollution. Nature Trust - FEE Malta pointed out that Dwejra is a Natura 2000 site and a designated Special Protection Area under the Wild Birds Directive. It is also one of the few remaining areas where one can still observe the night sky away from the haze and light pollution that envelops our islands, they said.

Environment Minister Jose Herrera had indicated his disagreement with the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal's decision, and encouraged the objectors to appeal.

The ERA has now done so.



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