The Malta Environment and Planning Authority Board refused to sanction the development of two stables, a fodder store and an enclosed horse paddock area in an area located outside the development zone of Zurrieq, an area known as ‘Il-Wardija’. The application, which was turned down, also requested the permission for the construction of an underground reservoir, a manure clamp with an underlying cesspit, boundary walls and the installation of a timber gate.
The applicant, in August 2004, had obtained an outline development permit for the development of the stables and related facilities but instead of awaiting a decision on the full development application, went ahead and illegally constructed this development.
Given this Mepa Board decision, the illegal development, will have to be removed by the applicant. The development falls within an area which is characterized by agricultural land sloping towards the valley system of Wied il-Bassasa.
The Board today also approved the full development permission for the rehabilitation of the former Qortin landfill in Gozo. The project, which will be co-financed by the EU Cohesion Fund, will include the landscaping of over 50,000sqm and the capping of the entire landfill. As part of the rehabilitation programme for this site which should be completed by 2012, this permit complements the ongoing project and system for the extraction and treatment of hazardous combustion gases to reduce air pollution.
In a move to promote renewable energy and find alternative ways for cleaner sources of energy production, the MEPA Board approved new planning guidance for Micro Wind Turbines with a generating capacity of up to 20kW. This policy document aims to provide prospective applicants with guidance on the potentially acceptable locations, size, efficiency and feasibility aspects of micro wind turbines. It also serves as additional guidance to MEPA in determining development applications.
The guidance document seeks to address and mitigate potential visual impacts, impacts on ecology, and other possible causes of nuisance to surrounding receptors. It positively considers micro wind turbines in industrial areas or large buildings situated in ODZ areas (such as hospitals, schools and other infrastructural facilities) but adopts a precautionary approach in urban areas due to lack of information on potential amenity impacts such as visual, noise and vibrations.
In fact through this planning guidance, the Authority is encouraging those residents that already have a micro wind turbine in urban areas to partake in research studies that are needed to assess the potential impacts particularly visual, noise and vibrations of this infrastructure on residential buildings and townscapes. The results of these studies are envisaged to be a determining factor in any possible wider dissemination of micro wind technology in urban areas.
The planning guidance for Micro Wind Turbines will now be forwarded to the Minster for his endorsement.