A number of development applications have become exempt from requiring a full development application permit following changes made to the DNO legislation. The Malta Environment & Planning Authority has sought to minimise the inconvenience that minor applications create for an applicant. For this reason it has introduced a number of amendments to the DNO legislation that has broadened the list of developments, which qualify for this 'fast-track' permit procedure.
The public will benefit from a drastically reduced regimen of processes and fees related to minor developments, making the process faster. - To safeguard and ensure good practice procedures, all these types of developments will need to be in full compliance with the recently updated Policy & Design Guidance 2007 and Sanitary Regulations.
Through these amendments, developments such as the building of a structure in the backyard or a roof, the construction of a basement in villa areas and the replacement of apertures on the façade and internal alterations in Urban Conservation Areas (UCAs) will be permitted through a simple notification. The legislation has also waivered the need for a full development application in cases related to the installation of photovoltaic panels, water tanks, air-conditioning units, chimneys and flues, replacement of timber balconies, surveillance cameras and the painting of a façade.
MEPA Chairman Andrew Calleja commented, "We are positively implementing these changes to the Development Notification Order because we feel that we have matured enough to trust that our Development Control Guidance will ensure that the quality of life, that Authority strives to improve, will not be compromised through these minor developments. "
Amendments have also been made in the procedures and way by these notifications are handled. MEPA is now required to respond to all DNOs. A DNO permitted development may now be revoked where the applicant submits wrong information. The set-up of the regulation has also been revised to make them more user-friendly and provide more consistency in relation to same types of development.
The changes should result in reduced time and costs for its clients without undermining MEPA's legal obligation to ensure that all developments are in accordance to its policies.