The Malta Independent 4 December 2020, Friday

All Birżebbuġa households eligible for double-glazing in €500,000 scheme

Friday, 20 November 2020, 17:38 Last update: about 13 days ago

€500,000 will be invested in a scheme which will see all households in Birżebbuġa eligible for double-glazing. 

Birżebbuġa residents are to benefit from a scheme through which they will be able to change inadequate or inefficient external apertures in their residences to mitigate against the inconveniences caused by Freeport operations. This scheme is financed to the tune of half a million euro by the Malta Freeport Corporation and will be operated by the Regulator for Energy and Water Services (REWS). Government will reimburse up to 90% of the investment made which will benefit at least 250 families. 

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The scheme was launched during a press conference addressed by Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli and Minister for Energy and Water Management Michael Farrugia. 

Minister Farrugia Portelli stated that the Freeport is an important aspect of the country’s economy, “But it is recognised that the nature of this work involves an element of inconvenience, particularly in terms of noise and ship emissions. The government is continuously striving to reduce these inconveniences as much as possible. In its budget, the government announced two projects: the next phase of implementing the shore-to-ship project which will address air pollution, and this double-glazing scheme, in order to address the noise problem”, stated the minister. 

She added that these measures are not the only ones being taken to reduce inconvenience. The Malta Freeport Corporation has invested in machinery that operates making less noise and installed more white noise alarms. In the meantime, a project is underway aimed at reducing emissions from ships whilst they are moored in the Freeport. “In the first months of my ministerial responsibility, I gave a direction to the Corporation to initiate studies on the viability of the shore-to-ship power supply that enables moored ships to shut down their engines during their loading or unloading operations and instead be powered through the national electricity grid.” 

These studies were concluded in the past weeks and it was clear from the results that this project would be of great benefit for Birżebbuġa residents. This project and its studies were given government approval; therefore, the ministry will now proceed to apply for European funds. It is estimated that through this project, emissions will drop by around 40% from present levels. The first phase of this project is expected to cost around €5 million. 

Minister for Energy and Water Management Michael Farrugia said that during the last few years, government has implemented a lot of measures to ensure that Maltese families live comfortably in their homes through initiatives in the energy sector. He mentioned the photovoltaic panel schemes, solar water heaters, water heat pumps, double-glazing windows and roof insulations, amongst others. 

With reference to Birżebbuġa, he said that the government has committed itself to close the San Luċjan plant and by the middle of next year, the 31 March plant will also be closed – two plants which were of great inconvenience to Birżebbuġa’s residents for many years. Government is also committing itself to compensate the residents by offering the double-glazing scheme, which was announced today. “€500,000 of social responsibility towards the residents of Birżebbuġa, who will now also start benefiting from cheaper energy bills”, said Minister Farrugia. 

Ministry for Tourism Director Mark Camilleri gave a detailed presentation of the scheme and how one can apply for it. 

Applications are to open on Monday 7th December and close on 31st December 2021, unless funds are exhausted prior to the closing date. 

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry for Tourism Ronald Mizzi and Eng. Jonathan Scerri were present at the press conference, together with Malta Freeport Corporation CEO David Magro and REWS CEO Eng. Marjohn Abela and the Mayor and Councillors of Birżebbuġa.

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