The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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‘Robert Abela’s government has impoverished the Planning Authority’ - PN

Tuesday, 21 May 2024, 13:14 Last update: about 23 days ago

The Nationalist Party on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Robert Abela’s government has impoverished the Planning Authority and has aggravated the situation by delaying needed revisions for the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) by eight years.

PN MPs Stanley Zammit, Toni Bezzina and Rebekah Borg said in a statement that government has continued to drag its feet to launch the reform it promised a year ago, has failed to plan what should and should not be developed, and has also granted public lands so that private entities can decide what happens to them.

“The government has failed and continues to fail when it allows the Planning Authority to be more focused on development control rather than on development planning,” the PN said.

It said that “the Labour government should stop hiding behind an under-resourced planning authority and decisions made 18 years ago, and admit that in the last 11 years, successive Prime Ministers and Ministers have intentionally stagnated the planning system.”

The PN said that Abela's government has impoverished the Planning Authority of 'forward planners' and aggravated the situation to the point there is desperate need for revisions.

It said that to this day, not a single study has been done on how much, and what type of development the country can handle.

“The Labour government should stop running its mouth, stop blaming flaws in local plans, and do what it has not done in 11 years,” it said.

The PN said that in the Bebbux area of Żurrieq, government is giving away public agricultural land still being farmed by Maltese farmers to facilitate the development of more bricks and concrete.

“The government is jeopardizing the daily livelihood of farmers working this land and the well-being of the Żurrieq community for the benefit of a few,” the PN said.

It appealed for government to immediately start a process to review, amend, or remove as needed local plans and policies, including Annex 2, based on studies such as the Carrying Capacity and SPED.

Similarly, it should plan rationalised zones and determine what type of development should occur in them, while agricultural land should be left to be farmed by farmers and enjoyed by the community, the PN said.

“The Nationalist Party, through its elected Councillors in Local Councils, will be doing what the government has failed to do, by ensuring studies are conducted on how our localities and communities are developing to ensure sustainable, social and infrastructural development for their locality,” the PN said.

It said that in the serious absence of a holistic, clear, accountable, transparent, and fair planning system that prioritises quality of life with full community involvement, and which provides certainty, security, and peace of mind, leading to truly sustainable development, the public has understood that “the Labour government is in the pockets of the establishment it so loudly criticises.”

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