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Beach cleaning procedures

I refer to the article ‘In spite of 57 beach cleaners... tons of seaweed sit at two Gozo beaches- ERA still has to give green light for removal’ (timesofmalta.com, August 11).

Beach cleaning is subject to the Operating Procedures on Beach Cleaning, which were issued by the Environment and Resources Authority in 2017 to ensure minimal impact on local beaches during cleaning operations. Consultations on these procedures were held with all stakeholders throughout the development of this document.

In the case of Daħlet Qorrot, the removal of seaweed can be undertaken without the requirement of a permit from ERA, unless the Gozo Ministry determines the need to deviate from the provisions of the said operating procedures. In this regard, the Gozo Ministry has been informed accordingly.

It should also be noted that the operating procedures criteria do not apply to all beaches across the board because certain beaches are remote or more environmentally-sensitive and need to be cleaned with great care and only after applying for a nature permit for each beach-cleaning operation. San Blas qualifies as a remote and sensitive beach, therefore, an environmental permit is required when the beach is cleaned in accordance to a method statement prepared by the applicant and approved by ERA.

An application for the removal of seaweed from San Blas was received by ERA, however, the regulator is not in a position to continue processing this application in view of the fact that the applicant has not yet provided the information requested.

Additionally, the Gozo Ministry expressed interest in removing the seaweed at Ramla l-Ħamra, however, to date, no application has been received.

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