Press Release 16.11.2015

English / Malti

Press Release 16th November, 2015

Front welcomes decision to consider alternatives to Zonqor in EIA

Front Harsien ODZ welcomes commitment taken by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA)’s Chief Executive Officer that a final decision on the location of the proposed American University of Malta will only be taken after the finalization of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) which will consider all short listed sites.

MEPA CEO Johann Buttigieg made this commitment during a meeting of parliament’s environment committee chaired by Hon. Marlene Farrugia held on 2 November.

The Front has already welcomed the decision to locate part of the university in Dock Number 1 in Cospicua but reiterates its complete opposition to the proposal to locate a campus on a site in Zonqor which includes 18000 square meters of land outside development zones (ODZ).

While reiterating its stance that Zonqor and similar ODZ sites should have never been considered as a location for the new university, the Front will continue to exercise pressure to ensure that any EIA conducted considers alternatives to Zonqor.

“While the Prime Minister had identified a site in Zonqor which includes 18000 square meters of ODZ land , the site selection study conducted by the MEPA CEO has not excluded a number of other sites like a number of historical forts and a tract of land in Tarxien which can still be considered.”.

The Front is therefore calling on MEPA to issue a final list of all sites which can be considered in the EIA and insists that all these sites are given equal consideration in the EIA. The terms of reference and the choice of sites shortlisted for the EIA should also be discussed in parliament’s environment committee to ensure that the CEO’s commitment to ensure consideration of all sites and not just Zonqor is respected.

The Front also insists that an EIA on Zonqor which considers alternative sites in one of its chapters is not acceptable.

“Such a procedure does not ensure a thorough and real assessment of alternative sites which so far have only been considered in desktop studies conducted by the MEPA CEO’s office with no input by Environment Protection Directorate and other experts. These studies should include base line studies, ecological and social studies as well as photomontages of the visual impact on each of the short listed sites. Anything short of this would be a cosmetic exercise which falls short of what Buttigieg promised in parliament”.

The Front also called on the government to publish the heads of agreement with Sadeen Group to ensure full transparency and dispel any doubts that the planning process is simply rubber stamping decisions taken by the government in meetings with the developer.

*

Stqarrija Stampa 16 ta’ Novembru, 2015

Il-Front jilqa’ d-deċiżjoni li l-EIA se jikkunsidra alternattiva għaż-Żonqor

Front Ħarsien ODZ jilqa’ l-impenn tal-Kap Ezekuttiv tal-MEPA Johann Buttigieg f’laqgħa tal-kumitat parlamentari dwar l-ambjent li saret f’ 2 ta’ Novembru li d-deċiżjoni finali dwar is-sit tal-Universita’ Amerikana se titieħħed wara li jiġi finaliżżat l-istudju dwar l-impatt ambjentali (EIA).

Il-Front jilqa’ wkoll l-impenn tal-Kap Ezekuttiv li fl-EIA se jkunu ikkunsidrati s-siti kollha li ngħataw preferenza f’rapport li sar mil-uffiċju tal-kap ezekuttiv.

Il- Front diġa kien esprima ruħu b’mod pożittiv dwar l-għażla ta’ Dock Number 1 f’ Bormla biex jiġi żviluppat f’kampus ta’ din l-universita’. Madankollu l-Front qed itenni l-oppożizzjoni sħiħa tiegħu għal-iżvilupp fiż-Żonqor li jinkludi 18000 metru kwadru ta’ art ODZ.

Il-Front innota wkoll li waqt li l-Prim Ministru diġa iddikjara li s-sit taż-Żonqor ġie magħżul, l-istudju li sar mil-uffiċju tac-CEO tal-MEPA ma jeskludiex numru ta’ siti oħra bħal fortijiet storiċi u art f’ Ħal Tarxien .

Għalhekk il-Front qed isejjaħ lil MEPA biex tippublika lista finali ta’ siti li jistgħu jiġu kunsidrati fl-EIA. Il-Front qed isejjaħ għal diskussjoni oħra fil-Kumitat parlamentari dwar l-ambjent biex jiddiskuti t-termini ta’ riferenza għall- istudju dwar l-Impatt Ambjentali (EIA). Din id-diskussjoni fil-kumitat parlamentari tiżgura li l-impenn li s-siti kollha jiġu kunsidrati jinżamm.

Il-Front għamila ċara li studju fuq iż-Żonqor li jikkunsidra biss siti alternattivi f’kapitlu wieħed minn ħafna huwa inaċċettabli.

“L-istudji għandhom isiru fuq is-siti kollha li ingħataw preferenza fl-istudju li sar mil-uffiċju tal-Kap Ezekuttiv tal-MEPA. Huwa importanti li jsiru studji ekologiċi, soċjali u fuq l-impatt viżwali tal-iżvilupp fuq kull sit u mhux biss dak preferut mill-gvern. Dan huwa importanti għax l-istudju li sar mil-Uffiċju tal-Kap ezekuttiv tal-MEPA ma kienx jinkludi studji dettaljati u ma kienx jinkludi esperti mid-Direttorat tal-Ambjent tal-MEPA”.

Il- Front qed isejjaħ lill-gvern biex jippublika l-ftehim li għamel ma’ Sadeen Group biex jiżgura trasparenza sħiħa u jneħħi kull dubju li l-proċess tal-ippjannar qed isir biss biex jirrattifika deċiżjonijiet li diġa ittieħdu mill-gvern f’laqgħat li saru mal-iżviluppaturi.

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