FAA requests access to Ramla l-Hamra Mepa file - http://www.independent.com.mt/
Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA) spokesperson Astrid Vella replied to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (Mepa) chairman Andrew Calleja saying that the FAA will substantiate their claims once they are given access to the Mepa file on Ramla l-Hamra.

Ms Vella was responding to a challenge made by Mr Calleja in which he demanded that the FAA substantiate claims that there were irregularities in the process. He said that if this is done, he would step down from his post.

Ms Vella also requested Mr Calleja to make public the developer’s Project Description Statement (PDS) that includes the preliminary report compiled by the archaeologists.

She added that Mepa’s threat of boycotting the FAA “does not surprise us nor will it silence us.”

“Besides being illegal, undemocratic and therefore very unwise to implement, this latest threat to free speech is simply in line with Mepa’s present policy to silence its critics,” she said.

Access to files is also limited to two people from the Valletta, Floriana, Mdina and Cottonera Rehabilitation Committees instead of all the committee members, leaving the clatter without direct access to the Mepa files, added Ms Vella.

She pointed out that while the archaeologists said the Ramla l-Hamra report was a preliminary which was not adequate for environment assessment purposes, it was presented by the developers as an in-depth study and strangely enough accepted as such by the Mepa case officer and the board.

Along with the developer’s “erroneous claims that all the site included is disturbed land, we hereby invoke Article 39A calling for the annulment of the permit due to fraudulent and incorrect information being supplied, intentionally or unintentionally,” said Ms Vella.

She also requested the chairman to make public the auditor’s report on the processing of the Ramla l-Hamra permit mentioned in the Mepa annual report 2006.

Ms Vella added that according to regulations, an Environment Impact Assessment can only be waived subject to a detailed justification being first given to the public and the EU.

“Since this was never done, we contend that the waiving of the EIA was illegal,” she said.

“While maintaining at the press conference that Mepa is in the right, Mr Calleja commented about the amount of opposition to the Ramla project.

“He may wish to consider whether this is a reflection of the fact that perhaps it is the public, and not Mepa, that is in the right,” said Ms Vella.

Furthermore, if Mr Calleja is convinced that Mepa is in the right, “FAA invites him to publish the plan of the footprint of the original structure which we have seen for ourselves at Mepa.”
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13 Jun 2007 by Saveramla.com