Six ENGOs to Challenge Aħrax and Miżieb Agreement in Court

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Six environmental organisations will be challenging the deed through which the Government granted guardianship of Aħrax and Miżieb to FKNK in front of the Tribunal for Administrative Revision.

In a joint statement, two separate but allied Court actions representing the parties been filed in front of the Tribunal on Thursday.

Dr. Claire Bonello will be representing Birdlife Malta, Moviment Graffitti, Din L-Art Helwa, Friends of the Earth Malta, Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar and Prof. Eward Mallia, Dr. Joseph Ellis and Dr. Martin Farrugia will be representing The Ramblers’ Association of Malta in this case.

The NGOs said they will be challenging the Lands Authority on a number of grounds. They are claiming that the Authority has acted in an arbitrary, untransparent, discriminatory and unreasonable manner and that it has committed numerous procedural violations resulting in it acting outside its powers as established by law.

They are also stating that the irrelevant and improper considerations used by the Lands Authority to assess and award the concession will result in the public’s enjoyment of the countryside found in these sites to be curtailed for large swathes of the year, all to accommodate a minority of FKNK’s members.

The NGOs assert that EU law was breached when the Government failed to conduct any of the required studies in order to determine and evaluate the environmental impacts of such a large concession.

They also claim that EU law was also not followed when the public was not allowed to participate in the drafting of the resulting management plans due to the fact that the agreement was negotiated in secret.

The six NGOs believe that the concession of these two areas for a the sum of € 400 in order to entertain a pastime will also result in lost revenue which should have been accrued towards the Environment Fund.

The deed is also being challenged on the grounds that it requires the Minister responsible for hunting to employ a number of ‘conservation officers’ from the public purse who will then be managed by FKNK. It is being claimed that since a Minister is not a public officer at law, he has no legal power to directly employ people into the public service for this purpose.

The NGOs are also claiming that the terms of the agreement encroach on public domain areas in contravention to Public Domain law and the Protocol regarding Coastal Zone Management.

The six NGOs have once again encouraged the public to show support by attending the socially distanced sit-down protest in front of Castille, tomorrow at 10:00 am.