The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

Budget 2022: Environment - Government promises woodland that is larger than Buskett

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 11 October 2021, 21:48 Last update: about 4 days ago

• Work to intensify on Ta’ Qali national park • Schreiber Pace Grasso Ground will change into an open community space

The government has committed to an afforestation project in the Inwadar park that extends from Xghajra to Zonqor in Marsascala. This project will see tens of thousands of trees planted.

The project will make this a woodland area bigger than Buskett, the government says.

This project will take five years and cost €20 million, which will also be used to manage water sources and safeguard the biodiversity of the surrounding area. The government will work with all partners for them to give their contribution, including the farmers, people who regularly use the park and others.

The budget also included proposals for green spaces in urban zones, gardens and parks.

Over the past months, the government announced and began implementing urban greening projects. The projects that will be implemented are in Zabbar, Qormi, Hamrun and Mosta. Once concluded, these projects will continue being maintained in a good state.

San Anton Garden will, shortly, be embellished.

The government will also continue with green wall and green roof projects.

Work also continued on the Regional Road roofing project in Santa Venera, which would require tens of millions of euros. A number of studies have already been conducted, including geotechnical ones, and now the government is exploring how this project can, potentially, be done through a public-private partnership.

The budget also read that the government will continue with studies to explore the pedestrianisation in the form of a garden along Triq Sant’ Anna in Floriana.

The government will also start restoring gardens and squares in several localities. The government is also working on bigger areas, like the Benghajsa Family Park and the regeneration of the Marsascala family park, Cottonera garden and the St Clement Park in Zabbar.

During 2022, the government will also continue rehabilitating valleys, by removing invasive species, restoring rubble walls and planting indigenous trees.

A pilot project to create community gardens in different localities will also be launched, in which residents can grow fruit and flowers.

Work will also intensify to conclude the different phases of the Ta’ Qali National Park. The concert area and formal garden, as well as the adventure park, are expected to be complete by the end of this year. In 2022, the car park and the cycling and jogging track phases are planned to be tackled. Overall, more than 60,000 mature trees will be planted and more than 86,000sqm of landscaping will be included in the project. Work on the Drainage and Potable Water Treatment Plant to supply water to the park will also begin.

The government said that the Schreiber Pace Grasso Ground will change into an open community space.

 

Sustainable Development

The budget also contained measures for sustainable development.

In the coming weeks, the government will launch a project to help Maltese companies evaluate the environmental and social impact of environmentally sustainable projects, and the information will be made publicly accessible so that private investors can directly invest in shares or bonds of these companies that reach environmental, social and good governance criteria.

Tied to this, the government will launch the process for public and private entities to invest in green and environmental projects that aid to create surplus carbon credits that can then, voluntarily, be bought by other private or public entities with the aim to reach their carbon targets.

The Environment and Resources Authority will continue with its Natura 2000 Management Plans and the government will continue with its interventions to plant more trees and build rubble walls, among other things.

The budget read that presently, the implementation of a project to restore or rebuild rubble walls in Gozo is ongoing, for more than 30km of such walls to be fixed.

In terms of clean energy, the government will continue to aid through more PV panel investment schemes, and others regarding batteries for energy storage. In addition, a grant for the restoration of domestic wells and on the purchasing of solar water heaters and heat pump water heaters will be given. Restoration schemes for residential wells, the purchasing of reverse osmosis schemes will be extended.

Next year, the government will continue offering free house visits to vulnerable families to guide them on the use of electricity and the change of home appliances to more efficient ones.

In 2022, the government will also relaunch a scheme for voluntary and sports organisations to invest in efficient energy.

In terms of the Grand Harbour shore-to-ship project, the government will continue with the project, while a call for offers will be published tied to the Freeport shore-to-ship project.

Next year, the government intends on allocating funds so that, where possible, government buildings will see solar panel systems installed.

During 2022, the installation of new and efficient lights will be installed along Valletta’s streets.

The budget will also see funds allocated for local councils to implement sustainable development projects in their localities. This will be done through a ‘Designing Sustainable Localities’ competition, where proposals can be put forward for sustainable development at a local level that also address climate change.

Lastly, the government will hand out starter kits with sustainable products for babies to parents who have a newly born baby.

 

 

 

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