The Malta Independent 29 July 2021, Thursday

‘Cowboys everywhere you look’: Illegal road works on Comino draw ire from environmental NGO

Monday, 29 March 2021, 09:53 Last update: about 5 months ago

Friends of the Earth Malta has condemned the illegal roadworks at the iconic Blue Lagoon in Comino, works which were spotted in the past days.

“This has become a worrying trend – from Dingli to the island of Comino and other places which have not been highlighted in the media”, the NGO said in a statement on Monday morning.

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They said that contrary to the impression being given by the Ministry for Gozo, who in their statement stated that there was clearance from the “relevant authorities”, Friends of the Earth Malta can confirm that the outline application for these works is still pending and that the case officer’s report recommends a refusal based on the fact that the proposal lacks the necessary information to enable complete assessment in terms of environmental and landscape requirements.

“Since this was an outline application, work could not have been started even in the case of approval and would have required a full development application. Can the Ministry for Gozo present us with the permit and the bank guarantee imposed?”, they questioned.

They said that the ministry is also incorrect when stating that “The passageway forms part of a pre-established network for vehicular transit within Comino and is essential to allow access to the Blue Lagoon” on that basis that there is no such thing as an established road network on the island of Comino, which is also a Natura 2000 site.

In its comments as part of the case officer’s report, ERA noted that the proposal is “still indicating a very broad area of intervention. It was also noted that the proposed drawings are not limited to resurfacing works, and still include interventions on which ERA had indicated specific reservations (e.g. artificial embankment wall in lieu of the existing natural rock face).”

“Although FoE Malta acknowledges that the path in question was subjected to weathering and required some form of intervention, we believe that no Ministry or entity should be above the law as this is not only a form of environmental injustice but will also in the long-term backfire thanks to those who in the short term are trying to bypass the laws and regulation in their quest to gain more political popularity and votes”, they NGO said.

“It is high time that the environment minister puts a stop to these abusive trends which are undermining all the environmental and planning regulations to the detriment of our environment and wellbeing.”

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