Press Release Monday 25th April, 2016
Solar Farms: Front’s position presented to Parliament
Front Harsien ODZ presented its position on solar farms in the environment and development parliamentary committee meeting on 25th April. Front’s position states that:
1. Solar farms policy should be published after a review of Malta’s energy policy to ensure that other options on renewable energy (like near shore wind energy, solar panel roads) are also taken in to account. An Strategic Environment Assessment should assess environmental impact of each option. The impact on land use of each of these options should be assessed. While we support the development of solar energy as a renewable source, the impact on land use in a small densely populated country like Malta has to be assessed.
2. Solar farms in quarries should not serve as an excuse for other kind of developments like residential development, old people’s homes and industrial activities. Quarries should preferably be restored as agricultural land.
3. Utilising existing rooftops of existing buildings is the most sustainable policy. The government should introduce legislation with regards to solar rights to protect access to solar energy from neighbouring developments. Government should also extend previous schemes which assisted local councils in utilisation of renewable energy, and should introduce similar schemes for other public authorities and agencies. Government should introduce a clear policy which gives priority to renewable energy in private development (e.g. apartment blocks).
4. The draft policy refers to farm sheds and greenhouses as suitable for solar farms. While this should not be excluded especially in the case of existing green houses, this development should not be a pretext for large scale development of green houses in areas where this is bound to have an impact on the landscape.
5. The draft policy excludes solar farms on “Fertile and tilled arable land”. Solar farms should be excluded on all agricultural land.
6. Development of solar farms should be considered in Areas of Containment (AoC’s), garage industry sites and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sites.