Ħas-Saptan should not house new fuel facilities – studies should be transparent and comprehensive.
Front Ħarsien ODZ welcomes the publication of an Environmental Planning Statement on the new fuel dispensation facilities planned at Has-Saptan. Because of the major impacts found on geology, geomorphology, and agriculture, as well as the site’s designation as an Area of Ecological Importance, as a Site of Scientific Importance and as having High Landscape Value, new facilities at Has-Saptan should not be permitted.
Front Ħarsien ODZ understands the urgency of relocating the current fuel depot from Birzebugia and welcomes the government’s efforts to do so. However, the Front requests further information as to why the existent facilities at Has-Saptan cannot be used as they are, without further infrastructure being built, as was promised by the previous Minister for Energy, Konrad Mizzi, in 2014.
The EPS states that “it is preferable, for logistical and operational efficiency reasons, to locate the dispensing facility close to an installation that is able to store the fuels being dispensed” and that the construction of new pipelines to Ras Hanzir would “raise the applicant’s costs significantly and potentially render the project unfeasible.” The Front requests a scientific study of the logistical and financial costs involved, and that further explanation is provided for why these would be unfeasible.
Moreover the Front notes that the main reason for the extension of the facilities is to minimize the danger involved in switching on pumps in the underground storage tanks. Again the Front expects further information on what kinds of pumps were considered for the project, and how the risks were calculated.
The Front expects fully transparent and comprehensive studies before any such project outside development zones is given the green light.