The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Borg defends Ta’ Qali tree uprooting, says project solving ‘headache’ of illegal dumping reports

Janet Fenech Wednesday, 29 September 2021, 12:51 Last update: about 9 months ago

ERA’s fine for Ta’ Qali tree uprooting ‘exaggerated’ and ‘very unjust’ – project coordinator Jason Micallef

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg said the government is appealing the €100,000 fine for uprooting some trees from the ta’ Qali project on the grounds that the project is resolving ERA’s “big headache” of reports of excessive illegal construction waste dumping in an abandoned factory in Ta’ Qali.

“I am certain that ERA will understand the changes we have done,” Borg told The Malta Independent on Wednesday.

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“I am convinced that ERA appreciates our work,” he added.

Borg remarked that “if there were any shortcomings in the procedures” as part of the Ta’ Qali national park project, those are going to be taken up by the respective tribunal.

Coordinator of the Ta’ Qali regeneration project Jason Micallef told The Malta Independent on Tuesday that the appeal they are putting forward against ERA’s fine is a “strong” appeal.

He said that seeing as many of the trees uprooted as part of the project have and will continue to be planted in other parts of the Ta’ Qali park project, he found the fine to be “exaggerated” and “very unjust”.

“It is a splendid green project that will see less cars and much more trees,” he said.

When asked what the actual reason behind not applying for a permit before uprooting some of these trees he replied “there is an appeal so I better be careful how I speak now”.

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) board has recently approved a permit for the uprooting of some trees as part of the Ta’ Qali project. The approved permit was for those trees yet untouched by the works so far as they are subject to the imposed conditions of compensatory planting that relate to the entire project.

“The €100,000 fine that was issued was for the interventions on trees that were carried out without the necessary permits,” an ERA spokesperson told this newsroom.

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