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Posted on: 15/12/2011


Water tunnelThe Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) Board granted full development permission for the construction of a storm water tunnel together with other infrastructural services for the area known as Ghar id-Duhhan, between the localities of Marsascala and Xghjara.
Initially, the applicant evaluated six alternative sites for this project, but proceeded with carrying out an Environment Impact Assessment on two sites which were deemed to be the best two options following a site selection exercise - option 3 (Xghajra outfall) and option 5 (Marsascala outfall). Both options have in common the catchment area of Zabbar and are located on the same coastal strip between Xghajra and Marsascala. The Environment and Planning Directorates evaluated both these options during the processing of the application but finally the applicant decided to present option 5 to the MEPA Board for its consideration.

Following intense scrutiny, the MEPA Board gave its go ahead for a planning permission to be granted for option 5 (Marsascala outfall). The Board cited that “in the balance of the environmental impacts caused by the two options, the Authority feels that the benefits of Option 5, namely greater water catchment and increased cost-effectiveness and social benefits far outweigh those of Option 3 which also labours under increased environmental disruption.”
The tunnel which will be constructed, as part of this project, which is being considered for co-financing by the European Regional Development Fund, is expected to have a length of nearly 2733m of which 1903m will pass beneath public roads.
The project will have two main shafts which are strategically located near the main tunnel. These shafts will serve as the entrance and exit to the tunnel both during the construction and operational phase
Earlier this year, the Mepa Board had approved the most strategic and important phase of the national flood relief project which included the construction of a storm water tunnel together with infrastructural services between Attard and the Ta’ Xbiex Marina.