The Malta Independent 25 August 2019, Sunday

PD calls on government to rethink the Central Link project

Wednesday, 17 July 2019, 11:09 Last update: about 2 months ago

Before the government embarks on a misguided infrastructure project which will fail to truly deliver, Partit Demokratiku calls for a last minute rethink of the Central Link project.

In a statement today, PD called on the government to recognise the phenomenon of "induced demand", whereby widening roads to increase capacity for cars merely leads to further cars on the road and more traffic down the line.  Alternative means of transport, including friendly cycle lanes, should be the mainstay of our transport policy. The damage to farmers' livelihoods, the loss of more agricultural land, and the destruction of heritage and culture mean that the only way forward if we are to add to the infrastructure of the area would be an elevated bypass.

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"Partit Demokratiku is critical of the Environmental Impact Assessment as it does not consider ‘induced demand’. Its conclusions are therefore inaccurate when calculating pollution levels with or without the project, as facilitating more cars will lead to higher pollution levels to the detriment of local residents," states interim leader Godfrey Farrugia.

"PD is also critical of the political nature of the project rather than the real benefit it offers to the community. This hypocrisy is visible thanks to the ERA objecting to PA 791/18, which asked for the placement of a billboard. The ERA objected as the billboard would harm agricultural land in ODZ. Double standards are being applied as it seems that when a project is motivated by political utility, anything goes," states interim Deputy Leader Timothy Alden.

Hundreds of trees are set to be lost along with eight football pitches of farmland. Practicing farmers are set to lose everything.

Buildings with historical and architectural significance will also be lost. The Chapel of St Paul may lose some of its garden.

A national emphasis on liveable streets rather than short-term solutions is a must. Malta transport system does not afford any other solution, PD said.

A similar call has been made by the Bicycle Advocacy Group and the Attard Residents Environmental Network.

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