Partial Review of Policy for Horse Stables and Horse Riding Facilities/Establishments
1) Instead of just revising policies on stables MEPA should amend the Rural Policy in its entirety particularly issues like the redevelopment of livestock farms in to dwellings and should exclude the redevelopment of countryside ruins in to new dwellings.
2)The term “ancillary facilities” should be defined for each point of the Rural Policy; i.e. it should specify exactly what is allowed as ‘ancillary’ to horse-stables, horse-riding, to agriculture, agritourism and so on. This will ensure against abuse and even save MEPA’s time from other “non-starters” like the so called agro-tourism proposal in Munxar.
Policy 5.2 – Stables and Horse-Riding Facilities
1) Considering Malta’s small area and considering that stables and horse riding establishment are not strictly speaking an agricultural requirement, such development should be further restricted.
2) Stables should be entirely made of timber and the intervention should be reversible (i.e. using materials which are not of a permanent nature). Current policy allows partial use of stone.
3) The current policy sets a maximum floor area of 25 square meters for each stable. This means that one can have 6 stables occupying 150 square meters of land. Policy should set a maximum floor area for stable development in any particular area as the current policy does not limit number of stables.
4) Current policy excludes stables from Level 1 and Level 2 sites. Stables should also be banned on Level 3 sites (buffer zones to areas of ecological importance)
5) Stables and horse riding establishments should not be allowed in agritourism projects as this could lead to an accumulation of ODZ development on one particular site. The policy already allows 400 square meters of new accommodation space on over 60 tumuli sites. The addition of horse riding establishments and stables increases pressure. The policy should avoid situations of multiple applications (e.g. stores, stables, olive oil presses, wine making facilities etc.) on the same site.
6) Policy should require that manure be collected daily then contained and covered. Manure storage areas should be designed to hold all manure collected prior to disposal as specified by Nitrates Action Plan. Policy should require that all manure and liquid waste be deposited at the MBTP at Maghtab, or treated on site with anaerobic digesters. Policy should set compulsory measures (e.g. gutters and drains) to divert rainwater and keep it uncontaminated from waste water. All contaminated waste water such as wash-down waste water, should be contained and managed.
7) Applications for stables must include a plan on how indigenous trees and plants will be promoted and protected on the site.