The Malta Independent 20 January 2020, Monday

‘Stop the greed, corruption and impunity now’ - FAA

Sunday, 8 December 2019, 12:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

As Malta's political crisis deepens, it is affecting all sectors of society, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) said in a statement.

"Over the last six years, residents have suffered the effect of the developers' absolute free-for-all, since they had the authorities' blessing to operate with total impunity, ignoring laws limiting dust and noise levels and workers' safety as well as hours of operation as works continued seven days a week," FAA said.

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"Streets blocked by construction vehicles increased traffic jams and pollution and rendered elderly residents prisoners in their own homes."

"With any semblance of town planning thrown out the window, abusive permits were churned out, destroying heritage buildings and increasing urban congestion with tall buildings in narrow streets, generating more traffic and depriving residents of their right to light and air."

"Abusers with many serious enforcement notices against them, including top members of the Malta Developers' Association have been rewarded with permit after permit in spite of the fact that they have several enforcement notices and non-payment of fines."

Public land was lost to speculation, as the db ITS project, the AUM in Bormla and Żonqor, and other similar projects proliferated around Malt, FAA said.

FAA spoke about intensified construction on ODZ land, "both with and without permits. Even public amenities such as pavements have been privatized for private gain through restaurants, pubs and bars."

 FAA maintains that these privatisations and abusive permits should be investigated by the new prime minister, "as should the possible link between this rampant speculation and money-laundering activities."

"Under the direction of the Office of the Prime Minister, ways were devised to render local plans little more than scraps of paper with residential zones being turned into tourist, business and entertainment zones."

"Systems of checks and balances which had been established to prevent conflict of interest were dismantled."

The paralysis gripping several ministries and authorities has further aggravated the situation as the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (PA Appeals Board) is now suspended, FAA said.

"This is prolonging abusive situations for lack of a verdict on their appeal. A most serious case is FAA's pending Manoel Island appeal where the lack of conclusion within the deadline could result in MIDI going ahead with major works that could destroy the Roman remains in the area, demolish Knights-period heritage buildings, and obliterate centuries-old views of Valletta from Sliema Creek. "

"Malta has been irrevocably damaged in its reputation, its quality of life, its heritage, landscapes and urban fabric. FAA calls for the culture of greed, corruption and impunity to stop now, before more damage is done. The country cannot afford to wait weeks for the change it so urgently needs right now."


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