ODZ should be protected not planned – Commissioner for Environment and Planning

The Environment and Planning Commissioner Alan Saliba published three proposals aimed at improving the quality of both urban and country living. He this this as a reaction to the State of the Environment Report 2018, a compendium of scientific data which takes a snapshot of the state of the various aspects of the Environment at a particular point in time. Perit Saliba’s first broadside was fired at ODZ where, he said, “It no longer makes sense that the authority responsible for planning decides on ODZ proposals.” . ODZ should be protected and not planned, said Saliba, and added that it is illogical that, for certain ODZ proposals, the Environment and Resources Authority objects and the Planning Authority approves

For the aspect of construction, Saliba advised the need for micro-planning. “Rather than macro-planning where for example with one single policy the height limitation around the islands is raised by at least one floor, the authorities shall come to citizen level and specify a master plan for each area,” suggested Saliba, even down to the level of blocks of development bound by 4 streets. He said that in this way, buildings can be designed to make the most efficient use of land, eliminate the huge number of garage doors on our roads whilst providing a substantial level roof for the collection of solar energy.

The third proposal relates to transport. According to Saliba, there is an immediate need for an underground mass transportation system. He noted that “when one considers that the distance from Pembroke to Kalkara is merely half the length of the tunnel from Malta to Gozo, as well as the fact that this zone covers the main part of the Maltese population and work places, it is sensible to think about this idea in the short-term so that as the Gozo tunnel is embarked upon, we embark also on the immediate construction of this underground system.”  Saliba concluded that in this way, perhaps, “one day we will start giving open spaces back to who wants to walk, ride the bicycle or practice sport whilst breathing clean air and enjoying the environment.”