PD calls for fuel station policy to be revisited

Malta has 77 fuel stations... and more to come

A call for Malta’s fuel station policy to be revisited has been made by the Democratic Party to parliament’s Environment and Development Committee.

PD MPs Godfrey Farrugia and Marlene Farrugia wrote to the committee’s chairman saying that since the policy’s implementation two years ago, it was evident that the policy had failed to address its true objectives and was already outdated as it did not conform to Malta’s national direction towards green transport.

Malta, they said, had 77 fuel stations, including eight in Gozo. The Planning Authority was presently screening a number of applications some of which were submitted before 2015 and had also granted at least one permit in breach of the approved policy.

The policy, they said, could theoretically allow for a fuel station permit to be issued at every 500 metres along a stretch of road passing through rural land. Once an application was approved and rural land was disturbed, there was neither supervision nor enforcement while such a project was completed.

The policy did not fit in a long term national plan and did not support the government’s recent declaration that local transport should go electric by 2040. Moreover, land speculators were being encouraged to buy relatively cheap agricultural land and turn it into a rural commercial gold mine through the policy.

The PA, they said, was not actively embarking on what the policy encouraged: the relocation of fuel stations from urban to non-urban areas, with preferences given to designated industrial areas, SME sites and areas of containment and/or open storage. This would alleviate urban traffic congestion and safeguard health and safety interests.

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