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Gas plant will be in line with EU directives

The Labour Party has accounted for the studies that need to be made for its proposed gas-fired power plant to be in line with European environmental directives, Joseph Muscat insisted yesterday.

Dr Muscat acknowledged that part of Labour’s proposal to have two new storage tanks with a capacity of 36,000 metres cubed at the Delimara power plant site, would need to be regulated under what is known as the Seveso Directive but insisted that the party had accounted for this.

The Times asked whether the study requirements of the directive would jeopardise the target date, which Labour itself acknowledged was “tight”, but Dr Muscat stuck to his line, stressing that a Labour government would make sure the deadline is met.

He also said the party had no intention of bypassing the planning authority in the process but would insist on an expedited process similar to the Smart City project.

“I am not aware that there were any problems with the way the Smart City process was conducted yet it was an expedited process, because the Government demanded it to be so and it did well,” he said, also referring to the permits issued for the City Gate project in the same vein.

Dr Muscat also pointed to the environmental impact studies that had been carried out for the new power plant developed by Danish manufacturer BWSC, pointing out that these also dealt with the option of having a gas-fired plant.

However, in this case, the Seveso directive, which regulates large scale industrial installations that store large quantities of dangerous substances, would require specific research of the proposed gas tanks and part of the infrastructure that would convert the stored fuel from liquefied to natural gas.

Dr Muscat was also asked about a claim by the Prime Minister yesterday morning that Labour’s campaign had cost €1 million.

The Nationalist Party has been linkingthis criticism to suspicions that the Labour Party may have been financed by interest groups with whom it is committed should it win election.

Dr Muscat denied the claim, arguing that it was worrying that the Prime Minister appeared to be unable to make certain calculations.

He pointed out that unlike the PN, his party published its accounts, and argued despite having been in government for 25 years, the Nationalist Party had failed to introduce a party financing law.

The enactment of such a law was one of the Labour commitments so that all parties would be required to publish their accounts, he said.

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