Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
After their direct action earned them a reprieve, DIngli residents, farmers and Moviment Graffitti have appealed to the government to stop the construction of a planned road and to preserve the locality’s cultural, environmental and agricultural heritage.
Beyond their letter to Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia, Transport Minister Ian Borg and Culture Minister José Herrera, they also made an urgent request to the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and to the executive council of the Planning Authority to issue an Emergency Conservation Order for the late mediaeval church of Santa Duminka and its surroundings, in which the road would be built.
They had mobilised after Infrastructure Malta turned up unannounced to extend a road on a private fields, and their efforts prevented the works from going ahead that day.
The works were not covered by a development permit, but the authorities have confirmed that a development notification order is sufficient in cases where a road has been planned.
But in a statement, Graffitti observed that while the road had been planned since 1998, no need for it has been felt since, questioning what urgent need was seen to it now for Infrastructure Malta to forge ahead without officially notifying the relevant landowners who cultivate the land the road would extend into.
It said that the road would not only destroy a site of great archaeological importance, but would also be highly detrimental to the livelihood of several farmers. It would also create pressure for more development in the surrounding ODZ areas, where there had already been applications for residents.
Together with farmers, residents and other activists, Graffiti thus demanded:
- The immediate issue of an Emergency Conservation Order for the late mediaeval church and its surroundings. The site should be granted Grade 1 scheduling and the status of a class A archaeological site, including a scheduled buffer zone.
- A change in the local plan to remove plans for a road which is “useless and highly damaging to our cultural heritage, our agriculture and our natural environment.”