November 2007 

The two environmental NGOs that had submitted an appeal against the Mepa board’s decision to grant a full development permit at the Ulysses Lodge site on the outskirts of Ramla Bay, Gozo, have welcomed the board’s decision to apply Article 39A of the Development Planning Act and revoke both that decision as well as the outline development permit issued in 2005.

The Gaia Foundation and Din l-Art Helwa said that the decision was a correct one since it was clear that the failure of the applicant in both applications to declare that part of the site was public land, and indeed a public thoroughfare, had a very material bearing on the applications. While the NGOs stated that it was commendable that the Board, by unanimous vote of those present, deemed it necessary to revoke the permits, they said that, in the interests of sustainable development, the way forward now was to ensure that a number of planning and environmental issues that formed the merit of the NGO appeal, would be incorporated and clearly recognised in the planning laws and procedures and in the Boards’s future decisions. These included issues related to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), the stringent rules regulating the zones outside development, and the quality and standard of the development planning reports submitted to the Board for consideration.