Harsien Patrimonju Mosti

 SUMMER 2011

HPM remains more concerned than ever about the current situation, as the most recent information is being verified and corroborated. Our legal team is currently pondering various other alternatives to redress this injustice. A Constitutional Case is not being excluded.

HPM expects justice to be upheld, and has been keeping such international institutions notified and updated. We shall not be daunted to take this case in European or International courts, if need be.

HPM shall still seek justice and do whatever it takes to protect the valley and uphold the residents infringed rights.  Same as the 3rd party appeal by Nature Trust & HPM, the next sitting of which due next September, by which there would be just  clouds of dust and irreversible ecological damage to ponder.

For several reasons, the majority of which expressed in our website, this permit should never even have been granted. It met immediate and total opposition since the very start, and all sorts of objections and protests have been forthcoming since at least 2004.

The greenery on the forefront is no less than the Tree Reserve growing from within the valley bed and overflowing into the development site.

Several NGOs and similar entities, 2 local council legislatures, and thousands of Maltese residents, have been involved in this ongoing plea to save the valley's green heart from annihilation. But so far, none of these voices have been heard.

The fault lies within the remit of all those who in the face of injustice remain silent and inactive.

Having said that, the thousands of voices and pleas made were all completely and utterly ignored in an outrageously dictatorial and anti-democratic manner, to the permanent detriment and shame of us all.


2nd July 2011

In the meantime, MEPA has issued a counter statement defending the issue of this permit and claming that it did its duty in conformity with its policies and regulations. No mention was made of the area enjoying international protection, and so many other factors were conveniently ignored in this counter-reply. It may be viewed here:

But now take a look at articles 2.1.3, 2.2.4 & 2.3.2 of the
as approved in July 2006.
Particular attention is drawn to the contrast between these policies and regulations and MEPA's recent statement attitude.
Also carefully note the last point and then draw your own conclusions!


The internationally protected valley bed in the immediate background and the damage being done to its ridge. 20 concrete apartments and as many garages shall soon ruin this Nature Reserve forever!

And yet see for yourselves how valid their statements are. What about Central Local Plan policy RCO.29 issued 19 years before the permit grant and stating that:
 “No new physical development will normally be allowed on the sides of valleys and especially on valley watercourses except for constructions aimed at preventing soil erosion and the conservation and management of water resources"
The planning authority is the only entity that does not give a damn about the protected valley, and this is clearly reflected in its persistent defence of its actions in favour of the development. Unfortunately it is the very same authority entrusted with the prevention of such crimes. It has the cheek to call itself MEPA: Malta ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING Authority. Facts reveal the opposite. But only MEPA has the power, despite its rounding off statement:

It "welcomed active participation by residents and NGOs, and said it listened to their concerns".

This too is another farce. 24 affidavits were presented to MEPA in 2009 by residents declaring that their rights had been infringed. Nothing other than an acknowledgment was ever received in this regard!

This not to mention immediate and complete opposition by all the parties concerned, except the one and only MEPA. But yet they have the cheek to end their counter statement with this:

"However, Mepa is an institution that is mandated to act within the parameters of existing laws and policies, and in this case it has acted entirely within these parameters."

And yet, the glaring ugly reality speaks for itself in the evidence we present here. There have been several misdemeanors and errors of planning in the country, but the severity of this one is yet to be understood. Only, it shall be too late then, and nothing now stands in defence of Mosta's condemned green heart. Soon all that shall remain is dust and disaster, crowned ingloriously with shame and treason.

The major insult and concern remains that legal loopholes, development-oriented legislation/authorities, and the lack of accountability make it impossible for us to halt the works, at least until the appeal proceedings have been concluded.

There is no real protection nor interest in this regard by the said authorities, who should have never even considered this application to start with.

HPM shall ensure that this infamy is brought to light where it matters. It is not the developers who are at major fault, for they are just minding their interests. And what is MEPA doing if not what it is best at?
And we have the cheek to say we are civilised, democratic Europeans and that we love nature? 

HPM appeals to all those who are in a position to add their voice to ours to do so immediately. If you are really concerned about your future and sustainable planning, about nature and culture, about your land and your heritage, about rights and justice, show your disapproval in all and any legal means to your avail.

HPM cannot, and shall not, tolerate the arrogance and economic / executive power of a handful of individuals and entities to outdo that of the majority of the people, with all the consequences and implications, direct and otherwise, of such mischief.

Let us not be held accomplice to this tragedy, let us not be hated and remembered for our endless transgressions in the face of nature and our land. Let us stand together in the name of those who left us what they did, and let us strive to do the same. But the time is out and we must act NOW!


What is left of the trees being bulldozed in the former images.

4th July 2011

HPM requests MEPA chairman to issue and Emergency Conservation Order and demands immediate regulatory action!

Several breaches and infringements were noted and recorded over the last few days. These are listed within the said report submitted to MEPA requesting works to be stopped and regulatory measures taken at once. This is the second time HPM has had to call for an Emergency Conservation Order, the first request having been lodged with the authority in 2009, due to infringements carried out back then.

Several phone calls were made to MEPA this morning and early afternoon, drawing attention to various points of law that have not, or are not being adhered to.

Upon lodging reports, HPM and a number of residents were politely informed that the relevant enforcement directorate only has 2 members of staff available, and they are in Gozo. We were assured however that they have been instructed to visit the site on their return!

Furthermore, upon verification of one of our points of concern, we found out that although screening is required for construction work, this is not necessary for excavation works!

HPM has on several occasions presented evidence showing that it is indeed world recognised and protected site. The problem remains that all those who want to save this site are powerless, while those who want to obliterate it have a full thumbs up from the very authorities set up to safeguard such important areas.

This case also demonstrates with utmost eloquence how weak and inadequate the authority and its loophole-riddled pro-developer legislation are. It shows that there is no real respect, nor protection, not even for such an important site, and far less for the residents involved.
The legal mechanisms in place are thus worthless and the appeal too has been reduced to a walk-over!

The following is a copy of the document sent to MEPA's chairman earlier today.
Copies were sent to the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition, Dr. Mario De Marco LL.d, Shadow Minister for the Environment Leo Brincat, and a number of relevant officials within the authority. It was also copied to UNEP & the IUCN.

A reply by Mr. Walker was received shortly before 19.00hrs thanking HPM for the email and attachments hereby reproduced.
MEPA's chairman has duly informed us that our report "was forwarded to Perit Alex Borg, Director of Enforcement, for his immediate attention and action.", and also told to expect more feedback by tomorrow.

Monday - July 4th, 2011                      


Dear Mr. Walker,

We would like to draw your attention to the renewed infringement of permit conditions relating to case ref PA 05560/05. The site address is 146/148, Triq Il-Kostituzzjoni, Mosta.

Kindly observe the photos demonstrating evidence of some of the conditions being breached for a second time as well as other related infringements. The developer in question was stopped from carrying on with works in 2009 after the intentional destruction of retaining rubble walls without having the subsidiary clearance to do so by the EPD as per condition 8 –("This development permission is subject to prior written clearance from the Environment Protection Directorate regarding the demolition, or carrying out of significant alteration, of a rubble wall/non-habitable rural structure.").

We would hence like to report the following conditions breached:

9 - "All material derived from demolition of existing rubble walls must be re-utilised for the construction of new rubble walls. Unless otherwise required by any other condition of this permit, applicant shall liase with the Director, Park Unit. Project House, Floriana, for the collection of the rubble stone. Prior to the issuing of any compliance certificate, applicant shall submit written confirmation by the Director, Park Unit that this material was received at their end."

Additionally, please refer to the condition set on the attached excavation plan:

“Rubble wall within building footprint to be taken down with care and stones placed on pallets.”

The stones were meant to be manually removed and placed on pallets but they were bulldozed into an area outside the approved development area, contrary to other conditions stipulating that the said area should remain untouched. We have seen the photos of the stones being bulldozed and piled on the ground, no pallets, with anything but care.

The remaining part of an original retaining rubble wall was also demolished by a bulldozer.

How can these developers be trusted to respect any of the other provisions if the very first one has been infringed within days of commencement of works?

10 - "Any soil on the site shall not be built over but shall be collected for reuse. A permit from the Director of Agriculture is required to remove the soil from the site. All soil shall be deposited at the place indicated by the Director of Agriculture."

The next photos show construction debris that includes cement, lime, concrete and other material bulldozed across the higher field to make a ramp into the lower area, with total disregard to soil preservation measures and techniques.

11 - "The uprooting of trees shall shall be subject to clearance from the Department of Agriculture and follow the provisions of Article 8 of Legal Notice 12 of 2001 (Trees and Woodland (Protection)Regulations, 2001)."

At least a dozen trees were completely destroyed by being run over with a bulldozer. This may be seen in the next photo.

16. k) No building material, waste material, machinery or plant shall obstruct the pavement or the smooth flow of traffic on the road in the vicinity of the site. The deposit of materials or the placing of equipment in the street must be authorised by the Police.

 And Legal Notice 295 of the EMCS regulations determine that:

 4. "Where construction work-related operations extend beyond, or affect, the perimeter surrounding the construction site, work shall not commence on the construction, alteration or demolition of a building until a covered way has been provided in accordance with the provisions of regulation 5 below to protect the public, except where ;


a. the work and ancillary machinery is carried out within a solid enclosure; and

b.    the construction works and their ancillary machinery are at a distance of two metres or more from a public way used by pedestrians."

7. "The owner shall ensure a safe passage past the site.

7.1 "Where the construction necessitates the obstruction of the pedestrian pavement, and this is approved by the Local Council, a temporary pedestrian pavement shall be provided and it shall be kept clear of obstruction at all times. B 3811"

The following photo shows that heavy vehicles, although covered by a local council permit, did not have a police permit to do so, and factually obstructed both the road and the pavement.


l) "Any soil on the site shall not be built over but shall be collected for reuse. A permit from the Director of Agriculture is required to remove the soil from the site. All soil shall be deposited at the place indicated by the Director of Agriculture."

As commented earlier, a large ramp has been built over the soil. The correct measures to prevent the soil being contaminated by lime and other detrimental residue from the debris used to build the ramp were not taken. And this latter condition specifically and unequivocally states that any soil on site shall not be built over. Considering the impossibility of building any structures on soil, this condition can only relate to such constructions as a ramp or similar. So there is no doubt that this has not been adhered to.

Work has also extended beyond the approved development boundary, as may be verified here. (Also see following photo for comparison).

Additionally, the protective curtain (hoarding) is not adequate and placed in the area that has not been approved for development. The former structure erected in 2009 was in conformity with the relevant guidelines. The difference between the 2 is hereby evident, as can be seen in this photo of the 2009 hoarding.

LN 295 of the EMCS regulations state that for buildings more than 7mtr high the hoarding has to be the full height of the building..

Schedule II (Regulation 6) Hoardings for buildings less than 7 m in height

1. "For any building not exceeding 2 floors and a semi basement in height from road level, it shall be mandatory to erect hoarding, made of suitable rigid material that is free-standing and independent of the building itself up  to a height of 3 metres.  Such hoarding shall be designed in a manner that conceals the site and protects adjacent areas from the egress of dust and from falling materials from within the site."

2.  "For any building that is to be constructed over 3 floors in height from road level, it shall be mandatory to erect hoarding, made of suitable rigid material up to the full height of the building,  Such hoarding shall, in the absence of a nationally approved code of practice by the competent authority, be designed in a manner that entirely conceals the site and protects adjacent areas from the egress of dust and from falling materials from within the site,   provided that for tall buildings higher than 8 floors, as an alternative to hoarding to full height, the hoarding is to be provided up to the 8th floor and from the 9th floor upwards all windows and balcony door openings are to be boarded up to prevent the egress of dust.     For sites that are recessed from the road, semi-detached or detached, such hoarding is to enclose the whole of the site.

The hoarding shall, as a minimum, be erected in a manner that ensures that it extends to at least one metre above the highest floor level within the construction site as measured in the vertical plane."

 And yet this very morning, intensive works mainly related to soil removal by bulldozers is going on the property in areas touching unscreened third party property. The evidence is clearly visible in the next photo.

Notice the incomplete and inadequate netting / hoarding screens in the incorrect place

Can you please instruct the integrated heritage management team to start immediate proceedings leading to an emergency conservation order. Additionally to the ECO, we are requesting that measures be taken at once to prevent any damage, intentional or otherwise to both the corbelled stone hut (Girna) and the network of interesting rubble walls, several of which constitute the actual valley boundary wall.

It is crucial that these procedures be initiated and action taken immediately in order to safeguard our rural heritage.

With thanks

Chev. Jonathan P. Cuschieri KLJ
Harsien Patrimonju Mosti

10th August 2011

Development stopped by MEPA due to several infringements but Wied il-Ghasel issue not yet resolved

Several breaches and infringements were again noted and recorded over the last 2 weeks. These were constantly brought to the attention of MEPA and led to several inspections by the enforcement unit in this regard. Since the developers did not comply with several binding permit conditions, a 'Stop and Enforement' notice was yesterday issued to the said developers. Despite this notification and orders not to resume work, this morning reports had to be made with MEPA once again, since work was factually resumed in direct defiance to MEPA's own order.

MEPA acted swiftly and with the assistance of the police, closed and sealed the site completely. Director of Enforcement Alex Borg informed HPM in writing that our claims were justified and that the Developers had been ordered to stop works at once, until the conditions to which the development is subject be observed and after they address all the breaches committed so far. More updates about this issue and more uploading soon. Carry on reading by clicking the link below: