Plan for a new fireworks factory gets turned down
A request to build a fireworks factory in the scenic Rabat countryside has been turned down.
The Environmental Planning Tribunal rejected an appeal by the Għaqda Mużikali Santa Marija of Dingli to build the factory in a high rise area in the countryside because it contravened planning policies.
The band club turned to the tribunal after a planning commission denied its request in 2010.
The club had originally owned a licensed fireworks factory in Dingli but had to close it down after the building scheme was extended and homes were built within the 200-metre buffer zone.
The permit for the fireworks factory was revoked and the band club tried to find an alternative site – away from buildings and farmers.
However, the site selection exercise proved difficult and the band club chose a site in an area known as Ix-Xagħri Ta’ l-Isqof. It argued that the land was already disturbed because it was being used as a dump site for construction waste and was easily accessible.
The band club admitted that the factory would have a visual impact in the area but suggested mitigating it through landscaping.
The project was criticised by the Rabat council and a pig breeder in the area who expressed concern that the loud bangs caused by the testing of fireworks would stress the pigs and, in turn, affect his business.
The environment tribunal noted the site was “ideal” because it was isolated from residents and farms and would not endanger anyone’s life.
However, the site was “precisely” at the top of a hill and the factory would be “very visible” to the extent that it would ruin the visual amenity of the area while “potentially prejudicing” good agricultural land nearby.
According to planning policies, fireworks factories may be built on disturbed land.
“It’s superfluous to argue whether the land is good for farming or not as it is untouched – certainly not a disturbed area,” the tribunal said.