FAA is issuing the text below as an open letter to be carried in the media, signed by many leading names from all fields, and we invite you to add your voice to theirs in speaking out against the lack of planning and enforcement that is ruining the quality of life, landscapes and streetscapes of our islands. We would also be very grateful if you could pass it onto anyone else who you think might be interested in signing.
With all the damaging developments taking place, if ever there was a time to stand up and be counted it is now!
The FAA Committee
Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
We the undersigned, can no longer watch silently as short-sighted decisions and greed continue to undermine all that makes Malta special.
The health and quality of life of the residents of Malta have deteriorated over different governments as rampant construction has ruined our towns and villages while damaging policies have continued unabated to pave the way for more building in our threatened countryside, impacting agriculture and biodiversity.
Our islands are paralysed by ever-increasing traffic which is costing the nation €274 million a year* in terms of lost productivity and ill health due to toxic emissions – contributing to lung conditions, heart problems, cancer and strokes – as well as taking us ever further from our 2020 climate change targets.
In allowing the destruction of our heritage buildings and landscapes we are losing our beauty, our quality of life and social fabric. When we destroy that which makes us what we are, which distinguishes us from others, we lose our national identity and damage the unique product that our tourism sector – the pillar of our economy – depends upon.
The continued lack of commitment to enforce laws has filled our towns, countryside and beaches with abusive buildings, air and noise pollution, and has now resulted in the widespread pollution of our sea, once again affecting tourism, human health and depleting marine ecosystems.
In many towns nothing is being done to improve the lives of residents adversely impacted by industrial development and to provide them with green open spaces which are vital for their physical, mental and social well-being.
The recent permits approved to build high-rise towers will accelerate the degradation of our communities, as we further intensify urban densities in congested centres where our transport and infrastructure is already not coping with the present situation, let alone with the addition of massive speculative projects. These immediate changes to our urban landscape are being pushed through without the essential studied and holistic vision that provides comprehensive planning solutions taking into account the developments’ cumulative social impact and the limitations of our island.
With over 41,000 completely vacant dwellings**, Malta needs to curb over-development through the imaginative and innovative transfer of construction activity to restoration work and to cease once and for all the demolition of heritage buildings.
We call for policies that give importance to urban carrying capacity rather than construction capacity which results in immediate financial gain for the few, at the expense of the many.
We call for environmental and social justice.
We are duty bound to do so for the generations to come.
*Refer to page 59 of The External Costs of Passenger and Commercial Vehicle use in Malta : https://ec.europa.eu/malta/sites/malta/files/docs/body/study_on_traffic_online.pdf
**Refer to pg xxxiv/34 of the NSO Census Final Report at: https://nso.gov.mt/en/publicatons/Publications_by_Unit/Documents/01_Methodology_and_Research/Census2011_FinalReport.pdfSign Now