Following my contribution to The Times on the 26th August 2011, MEPA has officially replied on 6th September 2011, confirming all the illegalities mentioned in my contribution. My initial reply is also attached. May be interesting to readers. I am attaching both the link to the MEPA’s letter, which is self explanatory, and also a copy of the letter itself and the subsequent comments by readers.
I am attaching some photos as a reminder of the illegalities which had to be corrected by the 7th September 2011, according to MEPA’s enforcement notice (ECF 434/11) to Transport Malta. Besides, according to MEPA, this would also show that my assertion that MEPA “like pale melancholy, sits retired, staring and ruminating its impotency to control the mauling of environmental and public assets” is wrong.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Peter Gingell, communications manager,
Malta Environment and Planning Authority, Floriana
Illegal brick wall on the Rabat road
I refer to the article Trees, Rubble Walls And BSS (Alfred E. Baldacchino, August 26). Mr Baldacchino highlights the incident whereby works carried out during the construction of a new bus interchange facility, along the Rabat road near Ta’ Qali, resulted in a rural rubble wall being demolished and replaced by a brick wall, while concrete was shoddily laid around a number of Aleppo trees. Mr Baldacchino uses this incident to assert that the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, “like pale melancholy, sits retired, staring and ruminating its impotency to control the mauling of environmental and public assets”.
Contrary to the negative impression Mr Baldacchino tries to create for readers, the authority can confirm that on August 23, a few days before Mr Baldacchino’s article was published, Mepa had already issued an enforcement notice (ECF 434/11) against Transport Malta for having illegally demolished a protected rural rubble wall and replaced it with a brick wall. The authority also requested Transport Malta to remove the concrete from around the circumference of the affected tree trunks and under supervision, construct a “konka” to allow for better water percolation.
The authority has given Transport Malta up to 15 days to remove the illegality, following which Mepa may then take direct action. The Enforcement Directorate and the Environment Protection Directorate are monitoring closely the situation and inspected the site again last week. If, for Mr Baldacchino, the authority has been caught sitting “retired” and “staring”, then he is mistaken.
While the authority continues to do its utmost to ensure the implementation and enforcement of planning and environment regulations, it reminds the public and all government entities that we all bear shared responsibility in safeguarding our natural and built heritage.
Mr Tony Camilleri
Would anyone blame the people who think rightly or wrongly that corruption is rampant in MEPA?
Alfred E. Baldacchino
Indeed I am greatly obliged to MEPA for proving me right all along. MEPA has finally found its voice, 11 days after my article (26th August) saying it acted on the 23rd August, but found it only convenient to inform the public today. 15 days from August 23rd is September 7th: in two days time. MEPA will be hearing from me again, no doubt about it.
MEPA also felt offended when I said that it “like pale melancholy, sits retired, staring and ruminating its impotency to control the mauling of environmental and public assets”. Such works should not have taken place in the first place, and not accomplished before MEPA acted and gave 15 days to the Transport Authority to correct illegalities, after which MEPA MAY consider taking action.
Thanks also to MEP for stressing that “all governemnt entities ..bear shared responsibility in safeguarding our natural and built heritage” This has been my contention all along. Now MEPA is under the portfolio of the Prime Minister who was the chairman of the National Commission for Sustainable Development.” If MEPA does ‘not sit retired’ it could easily have whispered in the PM’s ears about the utiliy of such commission, before it was idle since 2006, and disbanded in 2008.
Let us wait for 7th Sepotember, 15 days given in the enforcement notice (ECF 434/11). to see if MEPA is “like pale melancholy, sits retired, staring and ruminating its impotency to control the mauling of environmental and public assets”.
PS – with reference to the ‘konka’ in MEPA’s letter, in Englsih this is referred to as a watering trench or watering well. A good Maltese dictionary can tell you this.
“The authority has given TransportMaltaup to 15 days to remove the illegality, following which Mepa may then take direct action”. MEPA ‘may’ take direct action, How? by turning the clock back. It’s never been done before and I believe will not be done now too.
What, no guts to stick up to the minister in charge. Action should be taken BEFORE and not after the crime against nature has taken place. Will the rubble wall be rebuilt? I doubt it very much and as usual the illegal stone wall will be sanctioned and more trees will die too. Another joke or what?
Alfred E. Zahra
If you or I want to get rid of a rubble wall or a tree, how can MEPA stop us? Not unless we are stupid enough to inform it of our plans beforehand. Mepa unfortunately is not like Joseph Muscat. It does not have Godly powers.
Mr Peter Murray
What hope do we have when governmental entity fail to obey the law or take the appropriate action when found out and ordered to take remedial action.Yet again we have Mr.Gingell only responding to complaints/concerns expressed via newspaper publications, yet seldom, if ever, to complaints lodged individually with his