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A detailed report which was commissioned to review the processes and mechanism adopted by MEPA concluded that the permit conditions issued by MEPA for the filming in Dwejra were sufficient to cover the environmental protection of the site.

The review report which was commissioned by Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, the Environment and Culture, Dr Mario de Marco, was conducted by Prof. Kevin Aquilina and Dr Simone Borg, both experts in the field of environmental legislation and have extensive experience in the area.

The review was carried out in the wake of the incident that happened a few weeks ago in Dwejra, when the film producers breached a number of permit conditions during the filming of Game of Thrones. The two experts were also assigned the task of identifying measures that should be adopted to ensure that sensitive sites are given the utmost protection and that the administrative process including the form of consultation that needs to take places is implemented to ensure that no form of damage is caused to our natural and cultural patrimony and landscape.

The full report of the review was prepared following a number of consultation meetings that the appointed experts had with key stakeholders, including the Environment Protection Directorate, the Director of Planning, the Malta Film Commission and a number of environmental NGOs.

In the report, the two experts acknowledged the fact that MEPA officials could not be present at all times to ensure that the permit conditions were not breached and they proposed that film production companies assign an official who would be responsible for ensuring that all legal obligations and associated conditions are respected and met throughout the entire project.

The report goes on to state that there is room for improvement in the processing of applications received from the film industry, especially since such applications often translate into benefits for the local economy. Furthermore, the report recommends that a distinction should be made between permission granted for filming within areas classified as ‘sensitive’ areas and other areas that do not fall within this category.

In addition, the report recommended that MEPA should consider drawing up a list of sites that are considered as ‘sensitive’ so that all involved in the application and evaluation process for similar projects would be aware of these constraints. Furthermore, the report recommended the introduction of new conditions that would be imposed on filming permits, including the submission of a method statement, the obligation to report any damages caused when filming takes place and the increase in the financial guarantee for filming in environmentally-friendly areas.