Call to protect small rural hamlets

Alternattiva Demokratika has expressed concern over "rampant" development on the outskirts of Bahrija and called for protection of the remaining garigue environment in Malta and Gozo.

The party's spokesman for the environment, Mark Causon, noted that a bulldozer had dug a large garigue area on the outskirts of Bahrija for even more bungalows and villas to be built.

"Garigue is an important natural habitat which is in decline. Only nine per cent of our islands are covered by garigue.

"The construction of more villas and bungalows on the natural environment is a clear case of unsustainable development especially when one considers that 25 per cent of all properties are vacant. Malta has the largest proportion of built-up land in the European Union. The government should start tackling the vacant properties issue by introducing a rent law reform and taxation on vacant properties. It is shameful that two thirds of all building takes place on virgin land in our country," he said.

He also called for the protection of small rural hamlets.

"Hamlets like Bahrija, Bidnija, Wardija and Manikata should be protected from rampant land speculation which is destroying their unique identity".

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