The Labour Party is very conscious of the importance of the Environment and National Heritage. Joseph Muscat, confirmed this when replying to journalists after a meeting with a delegation representing "Din l-Art Ħelwa”.
MEPA is in possession of a report showing that projects, which include an element of land reclamation, can still be granted permission without any environmental damage. However, MEPA is facing a certain amount of pressure to disregard this report and is claiming that such projects are not commercially viable, said Dr. Muscat.
MEPA’s duties should not include any involvement in the commercial aspects of projects. The reports demonstrate the possibilities of various projects involving land reclamation. As long as projects are carefully studied and carried out diligently, they should be given the green light and MEPA should restrict itself to ensure compliance.
Care of the environment is an important issue, but so is development. Wherever development proposals overlap with environmental issues, a new set of guidelines should be implemented to weigh the country’s needs. Thus, all those involved in the construction industry and those whose projects involve land reclamation, can plan accordingly, continued the PL leader.
Joseph Muscat said that the country should strike a balance between development and environment. The Labour Party in government will give due importance to all aspects of the environment including the effects on health issues. In Malta, several localities are being severely hit with the quality of air that families breathe and this is at the forefront of the Labour Party’s agenda.
Historical and Cultural National Heritage is one area that has achieved a certain degree of progress in the last few years. A new Labour led government will continue working on the same lines in this sector. However, there is a shortage of consultation and co-operation with the private sector and NGOs which could help us improve further. The Labour Leader said that whilst acknowledging that a certain investment should be made, the country will have to look at priorities and as such, the PL will entertain and encourage private/public partnership in this important sector.
Simone Mizzi, the Executive president of Din l-Art Ħelwa, said that these dialogue meetings help in the planning processes that form the basis of the national policies that political parties prepare for the future.