The Malta Independent 15 April 2024, Monday
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Newly proposed environmental permit regulations launched for public consultation - Miriam Dalli

Sabrina Zammit Wednesday, 21 February 2024, 15:19 Last update: about 3 months ago

Newly proposed regulations regarding environmental permits that are issued by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) have been launched for public consultation Minister for Environment and Energy Miriam Dalli said.

On Wednesday the minister said that through these laws the government is seeking to provide a more holistic permitting framework, which is also more user friendly.

"The main principle has always been transparency and greater public involvement when environmental permits are issued by ERA. The new regulations present an ambitious but well-balanced position which allows for stronger environmental protection and sustainable economic development. Whilst Malta must stay competitive to support the aspirations of its people and overcome the challenges ahead, environmental protection needs to be ensured. That's why the proposed regulations include more environmental safeguards." she said.

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These new regulations will categorise ERA applications according to three environmental risks, after which standard processes will also be applied as per the category. Timelines will range from 15 days, when it comes to the processing of routine permits, which can go up to 270 days when it comes to more complex environmental permits.

Present for the briefing was also ERA CEO Kevin Mercieca who said that apart from ensuring that these permits will now also be available online, the same regulations also identify certain application hearings which will also be available for the public to hear.

Moreover, the same regulations will extend permitting requirements to previously unregulated activities, which will now require that certain companies conform with the same planning requirements for the same type of operations.

Already established operations, which are yet to be regulated, will have a transitory period of four years, after which normal ERA enforcement processes will apply.

Mercieca also said that after the full permit is issued, it will need to be renewed after 3-4 years (depending on the permit).

The minister said that these proposals are very ambitious and strengthen the standards for environmental permits beyond the minimum European standards.

Moreover, apart from ensuring that every single law which came into effect over the last 30 years is put under one document, the proposed legislation also clarifies what the criteria for the development with an impact on the environment to take into consideration are, they said.

Given that under these new laws the general public can attend hearings concerning certain permits, this will ensure more direct involvement of the public, which also promotes transparency, they said.

For further information the public is urged to visit the ERA website where the consultation document and other related information may be found. The consultation period is open for eight weeks, and submissions may be sent by email to [email protected] by Wednesday, 17th April 2024.


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