FAA calls on authorities to plan for a better post-coronavirus Malta

Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar

Malta needs a master plan which would encompass demography and all social and economic aspects of life, environmental NGO Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar said in a statement on Saturday. It called on the authorities to use this time to plan for a better, healthier, post-coronavirus Malta.

The NGO stated that an in-depth study of Malta’s carrying capacity, both as regards residents and tourist, requirements of different age groups, income and wealth distribution, how people live and travel within Malta was also essential at this point.

“International studies indicate that high-rise buildings will become more expensive to build, less efficient and less desirable as companies and families avoid cramped offices and multi-unit residential blocks, having to share lobbies, lifts and corridors with hundreds of others. This will reduce the economic attractiveness of investing in tall towers both for offices and residential uses,” FAA coordinator Astrid Vella said, noting that developers applying for high-rise buildings were ignoring the effect of coronavirus on architecture.

Instead of taking stock of the new situation, during the pandemic, the construction industry continued with business as usual, FAA said, noting that excavations continued causing great distress to people who are stuck at home during the pandemic.

The NGO pointed out that since landfills had reached capacity, developers were illegally dumping thousands of tons of debris in the open countryside, forming veritable rubble hillsides along Zebbug’s highly-protected Wied Qirda, a fact that could not have passed un-noticed, yet continues unchecked.

It also referred to a large field within the Xagħra Stone Circle which has been cleared before a development application was submitted. The field is within the Ġgantija AAI zone which is highly sensitive for its archaeological value. Trees were uprooted with bobcats, and protected dry-stone wall was destroyed without any monitoring carried out by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, the NGO claimed, adding that despite the abuse was reported to the Planning Authority, no action has been taken.