Radical reform needed at Mepa – AD
Harry Vassallo, chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika, summarised the main proposals of AD's policy on the reform of the Malta Environmental and Planning Authority.

Dr Vassallo told a news conference that “unfortunately a number of controversial decisions taken by Mepa, such as the waiving of the EIA requirement for the Ramla l-Hamra and the Fort Cambridge developments, the extensions to the development zones without conducting a strategic environmental assessment, have completely undermined Mepa's credibility. A public authority entrusted with such delicate roles cannot risk such slumps in credibility, otherwise we risk a collapse of our regulatory system for both environmental and planning issues.”

A reform of Mepa would be one of the keystones of our electoral manifesto, Ralph Cassar, AD spokesperson for the environment said. “AD will work for the splitting up of Mepa into two separate authorities; one authority will be responsible for environmental protection and the other authority will be responsible for development control. In this way the problems created by Mepa’s current conflicting roles will be solved”.

Mr Cassar said that one of Mepa's biggest constraints was the fact that more often than not Mepa's work is hampered by government interference intended solely to protect the governing party's electoral interests. For this reason AD is proposing to place the two authorities which would result from the splitting up of Mepa under the direct responsibility of two different permanent parliamentary committees.

“Our policy on the reform of Mepa also includes a reform in the way in which the members of the boards governing the two different authorities are chosen. We are totally against having political appointees on the boards of public bodies. In fact we will make sure that the constitution of the boards of the authorities responsible for both development planning and for environmental protection reflect Maltese society and we will make sure that environmental NGOs, local councils, and civil society in general are adequately represented,” added Dr Vassallo.

(source:http://independent.com.mt/)
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23 Jun 2007 by Saveramla.com