NGO welcomes Ramla decision -
Sun, Oct 7, 2007

The environment group Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA) yesterday welcomed the revocation of a permit to construct 23 villas overlooking Ramla l-Hamra, calling it a "victory for civil society".

Apart from the fact that the land in question did not belong wholly to the developers, there were other irregularities, the NGO said. The developers had also presented an archaeologists' report, which was not carried out for the reason of constructing a large commercial project in the area but for the possibility of setting up a heritage trail.

"This revocation of the permit is the result of the hard work undertaken by a number of NGOs, citizens of Malta and Gozo and the large rally held last June in protest at the granting of the permit," FAA said.

It also argued that the development permit should never have been granted for an Outside Development Zone site, not only due to its ecological and archaeological sensitivity as well as its landscape value, but also because four other permit applications had been recently refused in the vicinity of this site, including one for the construction of a farmers' tool-room of just 12m2 which was termed 'an unacceptable urban development in the countryside'.

"This is a clear indication that when things are not in order, concerted efforts on the part of citizens and NGOs can succeed in bringing about justice and change, especially when the authorities show a readiness to listen."

At the same time, the FAA said it was shameful of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority to attack NGOs and squander taxpayers' money on glossy propaganda leaflets and paid adverts/photomontages in an attempt to convince the country that this was a 'good' project and that all was above board, when the facts now spoke for themselves.

"That money and effort could have been spent much more wisely, to say nothing of the working hours and energy Mepa's PRO spent on justifying the unjustifiable."
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08 Oct 2007 by