The Malta Independent 13 July 2024, Saturday
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Birżebbuġa association accuses Prime Minister of going against pre-election promise on Wied Znuber

Monday, 20 November 2023, 13:05 Last update: about 9 months ago

The Għaqda Storja u Kultura Birżebbuġa is urging the Prime Minister to abide with his pre-electoral promise and save the remaining parts of the Wied Żnuber area in Ħal Far, noting that a recent statement made runs counter to pledges made before the 2022 general election.

The Għaqda Storja u Kultura Birżebbuġa has formally written a letter to the Prime Minister Robert Abela regarding the pending issue of the Wied Żnuber area in Ħal Far. This is the fifth letter this NGO wrote to the Prime Minister, after previous letters sent on 24 February 2022, 11 March 2022, 10 May 2022 and 14 October 2022 remained unanswered.

In a statement, the organisation noted that on the 7th of November 2023, in his speech, the Prime Minister made a reference to the aeroplane model airstrip project in Wied Żnuber area. The Prime Minister said, “We will perform an amendment in Wied Żnuber, where although we will ensure the realisation of the airstrip for model aeroplane enthusiasts, but this will be lessened in size while ensuring the buffer zone surrounding the valley bottom, that presently forms part of industrial area, becomes ODZ.” 

The Birżebbuġa NGO said that this is absolutely the opposite of what the Prime Minister has pledged few days prior the March 2022 general election. On March 16th 2022, Abela clearly ruled out Wied Żnuber development by saying that no development will take place in Wied Żnuber.”

Moreover, a day later, on March 17th, 2022, whilst visiting the Birżebbuġa market, the Prime Minister clearly declared that “if reapproved, a new Labour Government will declare the area surrounding the valley bottom ODZ”.

The organisation said that these two clear pledges contradict this month’s Prime Minister’s statement.

Hence, the Għaqda Storja u Kultura Birżebbuġa urged the Prime Minister to abide with his electoral promise and withdraw the development planned on this natural site according to an agreement signed on the 12th February 2022, days prior the general election.

The NGO said that this plan must be withdrawn for the following reasons:

·       This site is next to a Natura 2000 site. This portion of natural land is of a great ecological and archaeological importance.

·       This site forms part of the industrial area managed by the government agency Indis. Malta Ltd., and has been wrongly described as ‘disturbed’.

·       The public and other interested entities were never consulted on this development on public land.

·       No form of study regarding the environment Impact Assessment (EIA) has been performed yet.

·       Due to its archaeological and ecological importance, this site was well preserved by the British, but wrongly in recent years was included with the Ħal Far industrial zone. The Għaqda Storja u Kultura Birżebbuġa firmly believes that we are still in time to correct this enormous mistake.

·       In the past years, there were several attempts to develop this site that never materialised. Therefore, this destructive development must be also withdrawn.

·       The activity and air movements generated by model airplanes next to Natura 2000 site goes against the main principles that establishes the same sites according to the 92/433/EEC directive of the EU.

·       As promised, this site must be excluded from the industrial area and declared ODZ to continue fulfilling its important role of acting as a buffer zone between the industrial zone and the Natura 2000 site.

·       This last remaining natural site in the area must remain accessible to the public.

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