ILLEGAL STRUCTURES IN SENSITIVE AREAS DEMOLISHED BY MEPA ENFORCEMENT
Over the past weeks, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) continued with its efforts to curb illegal development in 9 localities across Malta and Gozo. The main focus was the demolition of a number illegally built structures and a clusters of rooms, in sensitive outside development areas.
These rooms which were not only an eyesore in the countryside but also compromised the protection of our biodiversity were demolished in the localities of Qala, Rabat, Dingli and Siġġiewi. Another illegal room that was demolished had been constructed right by the Knights’ Fortifications at Hay Wharf in Floriana.
MEPA’s Enforcement officers also demolished a stable that was illegally constructed within a residential area at Żabbar by the side of the Bypass leading to Marsaskala. In this operation, the Authority also demolished an ashlar stone boundary wall, the gate, and removed the material that was used to form the paddock.
The Authority also removed large quantities of illegal dumped material and walling that had parceled off a piece of former garigue land in a sensitive area known as Tar-Ragħad, located along the road between Mgarr and Żebbiegħ. Tar-Ragħad is a scheduled Area of Archaeological Importance, featuring eight window-tombs and various other archaeological remains. During this operation great care was taken to proceed sensitively and not to cause damage to any garigue remnants in the surrounding areas.
The entrance to a quarry at Tal-Mentna in Mqabba that was being used for the illegal deposition of material was sealed off by MEPA Enforcement officers.
MEPA also removed an illegal bus shelter in a site known as Ta' Cassia in Qala, Gozo. Other scrap, including vehicles, had been removed earlier by the owner after the Enforcement Order was served.
Perit Alexander Borg, Director of Enforcement said “Whilst we cannot take things for granted and sit on our laurels we are pleased that over this past year, being our first year as an Enforcement Directorate, we have managed to work more effectively and efficiently in dealing with enforcement cases. We are satisfied that we have managed to close off, in a reasonable short period of time, a number of new enforcement cases that we investigated this year. More awareness has consequently been created among the public of the need to comply with planning and environment regulations and we are satisfied that in this short time frame, the rate of people removing their illegal developments themselves has increased markedly.”