The Spazji Miftuħa coalition has asked the Planning Authority to intervene on various illegal structures that can be found in Miżieb as it continues to insist that neither Miżieb nor Aħrax should be handed over to the Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK).
The FKNK has claimed effective guardianship of the two sites for many years, although it was recently confirmed that this was not backed by any legal title. However, the government is planning to formalise this unofficial state of affairs.
Around 60 NGOs, mostly active in environmental and cultural fields, joined forces in the Spazji Miftuħa coalition in response to these plans, and on Monday, it presented the PA, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia and Prime Minister Robert Abela with a report highlighting the extensive illegalities that can be found in Miżieb.
256 illegalities, but just 2 enforcement notices
The report follows up on a report compiled by BirdLife Malta in 2010 following an exhaustive two-month exploration of the area. Back then, BirdLife identified 256 illegally-built hunting and trapping sites, of which 23 fell within the boundaries of the is-Simar Bird Sanctuary area.
But Spazji Miftuħa lamented that little had been done as a result, with just two enforcement notices having been issued. One concerns the “construction of a brick structure (used for hunting) without permit,” which led to the structure’s removal. The other concerns illegal signage set up by the FKNK around the site: the case remains pending.
The coalition is thus insisting that the PA should give an official reply to BirdLife Malta’s 2010 report.
Spazji Miftuħa is also asking the PA to carry out a detailed survey of the entire Miżieb area, and to act to address the illegalities within the area.
Though the coalition did not embark on a repeat of BirdLife’s 2010 expedition, its members nevertheless identified a number of illegalities during a 1-hour walk on site, in which they stuck to the pathways. Each illegality was photographed, with its exact coordinates included in the report, and the coalition is insisting on immediate action on the structures identified.