Mepa falling short of environmental vision (letters) -
Friday, July 13, 2007

Revel Barker, Ghajnsielem.

It must by now be obvious to even the most simple-minded Maltese politician that Mepa has been responsible for more devastation than the Luftwaffe which - we are often reminded - caused more destruction on these islands than occurred in London during the Blitz.

Mepa describes its "vision", on its website, like this: "Our aim is to pass onto our children a better country than we inherited. It is for this very reason that we compare our environment to a treasure, something we place our energies in, to protect, care for and improve. The environment encompasses all - nature, cultural and architectural heritage, towns and villages, the countryside, the seas and air. We believe that together we should carefully plan so that our heritage, this gem which we treasure, will not fade away.

"The Malta Environment and Planning Authority is committed to ensure that land use and the protection of the environment meet the needs of today's society and future communities. We are working to ensure a quality of life that will be in harmony with the our natural, cultural and built environment. In so doing we are seeking to implement sustainable development that safeguards the environment."

It's rich, that: "...our heritage, this gem which we treasure..."

This would presumably be heritage like the Mgarr Tower, Fort Chambray, Ramla, Hondoq, the Duke of Edinburgh fašade, the Knights' falconry at Xewkija or the Xlendi Tower (and that's only Gozo - people on the south island might think of even more examples). It is fascinating to see how Mepa treasured and treasures them all, and puts its energies into so doing.

The countryside referred to would be those areas dotted by hunters' hides, closed to the public, but that are otherwise up for grabs for apparently endless construction at the whim of any Jack-the-lad developer.

The sea must be that wet area polluted by litter and untreated sewage and spotted with fish-farms.

What they refer to as air is presumably the stuff we can see while inhaling industrial smoke, stone-dust and exhaust emissions. And the environment presumably includes the persistent screeching or throbbing noises of construction workers as they toil (unless they are on government contract, in which case they thankfully pack up their tools around noon) from dawn to dusk, and sometimes beyond.

Especially fascinating is the realisation that "building sites", "construction" and "destruction", nor "despoliation of the environment" and "nuisance" do not figure anywhere in the quoted vision of this authority.

Yet they are precisely the visions that come into everybody's mind whenever you mention those dreaded and generally despised initials, M-E-P-A.

Can any employees of that authority put hand on heart and say they upheld the official vision at the end of a working day?

After all, our forefathers who withstood the onslaught, the destruction and the devastation of the Luftwaffe had one benefit that the present generation is denied. They could look forward in hope to the day when it would be stopped.
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26 Jul 2007 by