Malta

FAA welcomes ‘Manoel Island victory’

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar and the Inħobbu l-Gżira group welcomed the PA appeals tribunal's decision that MIDI is to prepare a new Environment Impact Assessment regarding its Manoel Island project “due to the conflict of interest of one of the consultants involved.”

EIA consultants assessing the potential heritage and environment damage of major projects are to be scrupulously impartial, and conflict of interest is an extremely serious issue, FAA said. “This reflects very poorly on MIDI, a publicly-listed company, that is ready to imperil a multi-million euro project by having so little regard for the most basic ethics.

While thanking the public for its support, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar and Inhobbu l-Gzira will continue to campaign for a National Heritage Park as demanded by over 8,000 petition signatories. 

“FAA and IG maintain that government had no moral right to deprive the Maltese public of this heritage island for a pittance in 2000, and, given the present dire lack of open green space, it should be bought back.”

The World Health Organisation as well as hundreds of studies show that time spent in nature regularly is essential to physical and mental health, and that there needs to be a public green area within 500m of every home to make access possible. “Instead Maltese governments have focussed on distant parks like Xrobb l-Għagin, Ta’Qali, Majjistral, in order to ensure that every inch of urban land is given to developers.”

“Maltese residents have had enough, and indeed, Malta's environmental degradation has put off potential investors and led many residents, both Maltese and expat, to leave Malta for healthier and more attractive locations. “

Cities like London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Budapest, St Petersburg are peppered with parks and public gardens every few blocks, while Singapore is criss-crossed with green areas and almost 25% of New York is covered in parks, FAA said.

“With over-development contributing to increasing rates of mental illness, Malta's residents also deserve to retain some of their high value land and to enjoy a beautiful promenade with its views of Valletta - which will be obliterated by MIDI's project. Post-COVID, we need recreational areas free of crowds, traffic and noise. The Maltese public is clamouring for this beautifully wooded island to become a place to picnic under trees, to walk, practice sports, swim and relax from the stress of the surrounding Msida - Madliena conurbation where some 80,000 residents are totally deprived of a park. “

“Having been restored by MIDI, Fort Manoel can finally be opened to the public as a major heritage and touristic asset, hosting cultural events, concerts and art exhibitions, while the surrounding glacis could become a sculpture garden.”

“Yesterday’s victory was possible through FAA’s and IG’s limited resources, however now they need help and appeal to the public to invest in their well-being by making a donation at https://faa.org.mt/donate in order to enable the groups to continue this campaign.”

“With this help Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar and Inħobbu l-Gżira will push ahead with the vision of 8,000 signatories who have been ignored. We trust that this victory will show our politicians that with commitment to the people's needs, and not just those of colonising developers, a national heritage park can become reality.”

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