Press Release 30 January 2014
Din l-Art Helwa has called into serious question the decision by Mepa’s Board to approve the new ODZ policy only days before a discussion on procedures governing the launch of new planning regulations in the absence of a new Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED). This was about to commence on 29th January 2014 within the Parliamentary Committee for Environment and Development Planning. Din l-Art Helwa has asked this committee to discuss whether adequate procedures are being observed in the launch of new development regulations without the Stratetic Plan being concluded, and due studies and information being made available to the public. This discussion opened yesterday.
In a letter to the Chairman and Board of Mepa, Din l-Art Helwa states that this action by the MEPA Board completely disregarded the scheduled parliamentary discussion about the need to first complete the SPED before such policies are concluded.
It was announced at yesterday’s meeting of the parliamentary committee attended by Din l-Art Helwa that the draft of the new SPED will be finalised and issued for public consultation very soon, by the end of February or early March. It goes without saying, stated Din l-Art Helwa, that the new SPED, following consultation and environmental assessments, should guide any new planning policies.
Din l-Art Helwa requests that all the planning policies currently being revised or introduced by MEPA should therefore be reissued for public consultation once the information contained with the SPED has been made available to the public.
Din l-Art Helwa considers it unacceptable that the Mepa Board should disregard and pre-empt this strategic document of national importance, by closing public consultation and approving revisions to important planning documents just before the publication of the SPED.
At this stage, and with the parliamentary discussion underway, Din l-Art Helwa has requested of MEPA, as well as of the Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Dr Michael Farrugia, to make a firm commitment that no further new or revised planning policies are approved until the SPED has been finalised.
The correspondence is available below