Government dismisses NGO concerns on Malta-Gozo tunnel

MGOZ

The government has dismissed the concerns of the NGOs which have filed a judicial protest in which they are demanding a proper study into possible alternatives to the proposed Malta-Gozo tunnel.

In a statement issued jointly by the Transport Ministry and the Transport Ministry, the government said that the process aimed to ensure that the best value for money was achieved.

In a statement issued jointly by the Transport Ministry and the Transport Ministry, the government said that the process aimed to ensure that the best value for money was achieved.

The NGOs echoed concerns raised by the Church’s Environmental Committee on Thursday. The committee emphasised the need to look into alternatives, deeming the tunnel unjustified due to its environmental cost.

Government claims ‘national consensus’

But in its reaction, the government signalled no intention of looking into alternatives to the project.

It said that the process to determine the company or consortium that should build the tunnel started in 2018, and that the latest development was the call for bidders to fill a pre-qualification questionnaire. The call, it emphasised, was published in the Official Journal of the EU.

As it addressed the judicial protest, the government chose to reiterate the argument it has long made in favour of the tunnel’s construction: that it aims to improve the quality of life of the thousands of Gozitans who have to travel to Malta to work.

It insisted that there was a “national consensus” in favour of the tunnel, which was leading it to prioritise the project.

The government also said that a number of studies have already been completed and published, citing eleven examples, including an economic cost benefit analysis, a social impact assessment and a geological and geotechnical investigation. The list also includes the terms of reference for an appropriate assessment and the terms of reference for an environmental impact assessment, which are yet to be carried out.