The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) makes reference to a news conference held at a large construction site situated along Triq Ramija, Triq l-Ghid and Triq Papa Pawlu VI in Siggiewi earlier today by a contractor and his architect.
The Authority wishes to point out the following:
1. The impression that was given earlier that the Authority is not in favour of recycling and reusing the good quality ‘franka’ stone found on the site but prefers having it dumped is completely incorrect. The Authority, on issuing the development planning permit in December 2009, had approved the Construction Site Management Plan which specifically indicated that ‘the applicant is to excavate this material using the latest available state of the art equipment which will cut the stone in large blocks (approx. 1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m) which will then be transported from site to an authorized place where several products can be manufactured.’
2. The Authority suspended works on site in May 2010, when the contractor willingly decided to ignore a number of the approved Construction Site Management Plan conditions. In this sensitive site, which is enclosed with residences, the contractor started to cut and stone-dress the ‘franka’ stone into much smaller stone blocks using inferior machinery. This not only generated much larger quantities of dust but also transformed the site into an ‘unmanaged’ quarry. (Photos of this are being attached as evidence).
3. During the subsequent months ahead, the contractor kept insisting with the Authority that he did not want to abide by the approved Construction Site Management Plan but wanted to keep excavating the stone into to a much smaller size. Primarily to safeguard the amenity of neighbours and minimizing the inconvenience caused by this large and long process of excavating the material, the Authority kept insisting that stone needs to be excavated as large stone blocks.
4. On 20th April 2011, the Authority received a request from the contractor’s architect requesting an amendment to the approved Construction Site Management Plan. The Architect indicated that they were to revert to the traditional method of excavating the stone using a pneumatic hammer. Although not the preferred option, given that the Authority would have prefer that the contractor adhered to the conditions agreed in the original Construction Site Management Plan, the Authority had no alternative but to allow the contractor to make use of the pneumatic hammer as it does in all other construction sites.
5. MEPA never received any official invitation to be present at today’s news conference as was reported.
6. Following the MEPA Reform, the Authority is no longer responsible for the enforcement of the Construction Site Management Regulations. These are the responsibility of the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs.