Save Ramla campaign intensifies -
by Dorian Cassar, di-ve news
18 June 2007

FLORIANA, Malta (di-ve news) -- June 18, 2007 -- 1840CEST -- A number of environmental NGOs preparing for the national Save Gozo protest on Monday, June 25, met the press outside MEPA offices in Floriana on Monday. Amongst other environmental themes, the Ramla case, the Save Gozo protest and MEPA's boycott of FAA were emphasised.

Carmen Bajada from the Xaghra Local Council said that the Save Ramla campaign has turned to be an international issue, with over 5,200 signatures from 54 different countries on the portal. She remarked that a number of complaints were also made with European Union institutions.

Bajada said the local council is worried about the issue of the redevelopment site, given the great amount of illegal development already in place. She emphasised that with the issuing of this permit, MEPA will be endorsing the practise of "building without first obtaining permits".

She added that the site bounders with Ir-Ramla l-Hamra Special Area of Conservation and lies to the southeast of Ghajn Barrani Special Area of Conservation, both declared as having International Importance through Legal Notice 257 of 2003.

The Xaghra councillor ended that everyone has the moral duty to save the environment. "Besides having the responsibility to answer to God, we also have the duty to preserve what we have now to be enjoyed by present and future generations", she concluded.

In a press statement by the Moviment Graffitti, the group urges the Maltese and Gozitan people to voice themselves against all forms of unsustainable development by any legitimate means possible, including through the participation in public demonstrations organized by NGOs. "Participation in the upcoming environmental demonstration will help to show one's disapproval of present practices as well as urge the Maltese government to endorse sustainable measures through which Malta's environment can be safeguarded", the movement said.

The Save Gozo protest is organised by Birdlife Malta, Din l-Art Helwa, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth (Malta), Gaia Foundation, Nature Trust ad the Ramblers' Association Malta in conjunction with Xaghra and Xewkija Local Councils

Meanwhile, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) issued a separate press statement to answer to Councillor Carmen Bajada's speech at the press conference. MEPA re-iterated that this full development application was granted following the approval of the Outline permit for which no objections whatsoever were received.

"If the action group deems it has the material necessary to prove that the Outline Permit ought to be withdrawn, it can initiate the process stipulated in Art 39A of the Development Planning Act. This should be done immediately in the public interest", MEPA stated.

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18 Jun 2007 by