New rural policy to be published for public consultation

Ambjent

The proposal for a new Rural Policy has been approved for public consultation by the Executive Council of the Planning Authority, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia announced.

Environment Minister said that the objectives of the new policy are threefold with the overarching objective of keeping development to a minimum, to ascertain that the genuine farmer will be protected and helped to continue providing food, providing clarity and addressing interpretation issues which could have led to abuses in the past and address the issue of sprouting agricultural stores in fields across Malta and Gozo.

He also said that the policy introduces a general presumption against development which is likely to have an adverse impact on protected areas, species, and habitats.

The Chairperson of the Planning Authority’s Executive Council Martin Saliba said that the proposed Rural Policy and Design Guidance document which will be published for public consultation in the coming days will replace the current Policy of 2014.

Saliba explained that the draft policy is not only in sync with the spirit of the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development but, more importantly, seeks to prioritise that rural areas are intended to sustain the farming community while providing the public with a space to get away from the daily urban life and experience the natural richness of the Islands’ countryside and its biodiversity and natural heritage.