The legal notices which will regulate the introduction on the new daily fines and penalties have been published for public consultation by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) as it continues with its efforts to tighten enforcement by dissuading and penalizing persons from carrying out illegal development.
The draft two legal notices, entitled the Scheduling of Penalties Regulation and the Daily Penalty Regulations, seek to overhaul MEPA’s penalty system and substantially increase the penalties which vary according to the scale and type of illegality.
The draft scheduling of penalty regulations, through which the Authority’s model of penalties will be revamped, has been categorised into four main schedules, namely Schedule A which covers development carried out not in accordance with a development permit or not according to official alignment; Schedule B for development carried out without any development permission (whether in an ODZ area or not) and Schedule C and D cover minor development offences or offences pertaining to the failure to obtain a completion certificate or tampering with any seals placed by the Authority.
The draft regulations stipulate that the penalty for the sanctioning of illegal development in an ODZ area under Schedule A can rise up to as much as €50,000. Where development is carried out without any planning permission, under Schedule B, the penalty proposed can go up to 600 percent of the development planning fee (DPF) together with a fixed charge. Additional to this, in cases where the illegal development is carried out in a protected area, the penalties will be further increased by a 100 per cent.
Breaches falling within Schedules C and D will be subject to a penalty ranging between €50 and €1500.
The Legal Notice which will introduce the new daily fines is categorized into 8 different sections, with the lowest daily fine being of €2 and the highest being capped at €50 per day. In the case of multiple illegalities on the same site, the highest rate for the cumulative illegalities will be imposed. Unlike the revised penalties, the daily fines will only be applicable for any illegal development carried out after this legal notice gets officially published in the Government Gazzette.
Additional to these proposed daily fines and penalties, as of 01st January 2011, the Authority prohibits the submission of planning applications that seek to regularize illegal development in ODZ and protected areas carried out after May 2008, or on all scheduled properties.
The two draft legal notices can be viewed on the Authority’s website www.mepa.org.mt/public-consultation.
The Authority is inviting the public to submit any comments and feedback on these legal notices to: Malta Environment and Planning Authority, Legal Office, P.O. Box 200, Marsa MRS 1000 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
by not later than Friday 11th February 2011.