Church Environment Committee calls for protection of farmland and squares

During the 2022 Environment Day, held annually on June 5, the Interdiocesan Environment Commission (KA) will urgently revise current policies to protect agricultural land and open spaces, focus on alternative energy sources. Call on the authorities. It is deliberately intended to serve narrow interests and irreparably jeopardize the natural heritage of the Maltese Islands.

The decisive action to shift to renewable energy sources but not sacrifice agriculture The current nonsensical war against Ukraine has highlighted the importance of reducing reliance on fossil fuels and the importance of agricultural activities to feed the population. I pushed it to the front. National plans and commitments to achieve the transition to renewable energy need to be reviewed and implemented. However, the transition to renewable energy must not come at the expense of farmland conservation.

Both the use of renewable energy sources and the conservation of agricultural land are of national importance. They are not mutually exclusive. Agricultural practices, apart from protecting national cultural heritage, are also a guarantee of rural management when respecting environmental laws and regulations. It is very encouraging that young people are still interested in becoming an agricultural entrepreneur.

Authorities complete such entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurship of older farmers by granting Malta’s farmland a special protection status as a strategic resource and protecting them from evictions from the land they cultivate. Need to help. In this regard, infrastructure projects need to be reassessed to avoid occupying farmland.

KA has also appealed to authorities to ensure that there is no abuse of national or EU funds by those who may register as part-time farmers to qualify for such funding, and therefore so. Funding is unavailable to other truly valuable goodwillers Part-time and full-time farmers. This appeal, which requires an urgent review of current planning policies to protect the environment, has been frequently repeated by KA for several years. New policy promises to protect the environment are useless, as the problem is not a lack of policy, but a lack of political willingness to change policies designed for the benefit of a small number of people, not for the public good. .. This lack of action to review current policies indicates that perhaps the only effective way to save Malta’s environment is due to increased combat power from environmental groups, groups of locals and local councils. And it seems.

No action will be taken only when a public protest takes place. There seems to be a lack of careful consideration of the common good in planning and policy planning and review, and a small number of people with good access to the authorities appear to have an advantage in policy making. Therefore, KA is appealing to the authorities:

・ ・ We publish a revised version of Rural Policy and Design Guidance 2014. Public consultation on this policy revision ended almost two years ago in August 2020. Since then, more buildings have been allowed to be built outside the development zone, based on the existence of the ruins of the countryside. Such buildings are being built despite the official position that the development zone has not been expanded. This policy allows you to build buildings almost anywhere in the countryside.

・ ・ Revise the Development Management Design Policy, Guidance and Standards 2015, which is causing havoc on the Gozo Ridge. The Maki that decorates such ridges is devastated by policies that the drafters and the authorities that approved them knew, or at least should have known, the implications of such policy changes.

・ ・ Open spaces in urban areas need to be protected. The creation of open spaces, which is highly needed in urban areas, cannot be hijacked by the presence of kiosks, table and chair areas, or even the provision of parking spaces on the ground. Creating catering and commercial facilities along the promenade and obstructing sea views in already densely populated areas does not fit the idea of ​​creating open spaces in urban areas.

Authorities are required not only to be commercially viable for some entrepreneurs, but also to make urban areas more livable for locals.

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