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NGO hits out over environmental governance

Environment NGO Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar said today it was not surprised that the EU has declared that the exemption of hospital grounds from planning process scrutiny as illegal.

"Because of the government’s drive to satisfy its pre-election promises to select interest groups, this country is lurching from one environmental crisis to another. This can be seen from the threat of ever-encroaching construction to satisfy the perceived need for further development, and also from the increasing applications for petrol stations on ODZ land - in a country with 80 petrol stations, or one for every four square km of land," the NGO said.

It referred to plans for a motorsports circuit in Malta and asked how the island could spare 80 hectares, equal to 100 football pitches, to accommodate an activity that would create air and noise pollution to residents for miles.

"It is highly irresponsible of the government to encourage such a damaging project," it said.

"Successive governments have fostered the mentality that everything that is found in America, Dubai and Singapore can be fitted into this little island. Motorsport enthusiasts claim their rights but several sports lack facilities, such as a cycling track. Malta has a growling community of skiers and mountain climbers. Will they also have the right to build an artificial ski-slope to practice their sport? Those who can afford a sports car can surely afford to use professional circuits in Sicily, rather than inflicting the health problems of pollution on the Maltese public," it said.

"We have to start accepting the limitations of this tiny island and protect its assets rather than fixating on what we cannot have. ODZ projects like foreign universities and motorsport circuits need to be assessed as to whether they are essential to the well-being of a tiny nation that does not have an unemployment problem." 

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