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Malta: towards elections, Catholic Church’s document on environment. “Do not make unsustainable promises”

“During this pre-election time, do not make unsustainable promises which later on will turn out to be detrimental to all, especially the most vulnerable. We appeal to political parties to commit themselves in the environmental sector with facts, laws and policies which contain no loopholes that give rise to abuse”. This is the beginning of an extensive document addressed by the Environmental Commission of the Catholic Church in Malta to the parties running for the 3 June general elections. It contains twenty concrete proposals such as, for instance, that of guaranteeing veto powers to the National Environmental Authority and the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage over permit applications; a full revision of planning and development policies; the introduction of rules on noise control; and the restriction of unnecessary illumination. MPs are also called upon to disclose the “positions they hold in companies and private enterprises” and to carry out an annual study into housing supply and demand. The document also refers to the issue of traffic and the proposal to build a tunnel between Malta and the island of Gozo, insisting on the need to examine the alternatives to the tunnel via public consultation and feasibility studies in order to assess their economic and environmental impact. “When the Dwejra Azure Window collapsed, many people realised that our heritage, apart from being fragile, is also an economic resource, and that environmental protection is important for people’s physical and mental well-being”.

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