Minister accused of misleading House by claiming Naxxar council backs Magħtab plant

Bird's eye view of Maghtab facility with MInister Aaron Farrugia in inset

Opposition whip Robert Cutajar has asked the Speaker for a ruling after claiming that Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia attempted to mislead the house by claiming that the Naxxar local council endorsed the proposed waste treatment facilities in Magħtab.

However, the minister insisted that he was correct in stating that the council welcomed the government’s decision to revise the plans and reduce the proposed footprint of the project.

Speaker Anġlu Farrugia will deliver a ruling in a future sitting.

Council denies backing proposed Magħtab plant

Farrugia had suggested that the council backed the plans – once government reduced the footprint of the project – during question time in Monday’s parliamentary sitting. But this was denied by the local council, which issued a statement earlier today.

The council explained that following its latest meeting with Farrugia, it unanimously agreed that it would not take a position on the matter until the relevant documents were in its hands. However, these documents have not yet reached the council.

During question time in Parliament on Monday, Farrugia reiterated that various quarries could accept construction waste, but suggested that the government may choose to cut out the middleman and dump waste at sea instead.

The minister explained that an offshore site was already licensed for such dumping, noting that much of the construction waste generated by the Smart City project was taken there.

Farrugia’s statement was in view of the disagreements on waste disposal which has brought roadworks across the country to a standstill.

However, Farrugia insisted that this would be a short-term solution, citing recycling and land reclamation as two longer-term solutions instead.

Environment Minister should retract his statements on Naxxar local council – PN

Partit Nazzjonalista said that Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia should retract his statements on Naxxar local after the latter denied backing the proposal.

In its statement, the Opposition called on the minister to publish all the details related to the Magħtab project including the minutes of consultation meetings held with residents and farmers. It also called on the Environment Minister to refrain from taking up agricultural land for the project.

The Opposition also called on the government to publish the environment impact assessment without any further delay.

Partit Nazzjonalista urged the government to consult with the Opposition and neighboring local councils.

The statement was signed by Opposition MPs Robert Cutajar, Claudette Buttigieg, Maria Deguara, Karl Gouder, David Thake and Edwin Vassallo.