Harsien Patrimonju Mosti


7th JANUARY 2013

Yet another year has passed and nothing had changed, other than the topography of Wied Il-Ghasel's world protected valley ridge. The developers are still working at full speed to see their project completed, despite MEPA's promises that if the permit is revoked, the site shall have to be returned to its original state. A fallacy and blatant excuse for justice and little more.
But the cherry on the cake comes with the recent news of the arraignment of the magistrate handling our case. So needless to say, our last dash of hope for justice has yet again been denied to us, since the sentence due for this Spring shall never be delved. It shall take months to replace the said magistrate or re-assign his cases. And the developers happily rejoice as their projects gains momentum, unhindered, unstoppable!

Photos from 13.11.2012: This is how we preserve a world protected valley ridge in Malta!

POLICY RCO.29 of 1990

"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"

MARCH 2013



First application to build a site in Wied il-Ghasel submitted in 2002, for an old peoples’ home.  Outline development plan approved by MEPA leading to a second application in 2005, now for over 20 apartments and a similar quantity of garages. This was refused twice by the respective case officers, but approved by the Development Control Commission (DCC) at re-consideration stage, in 2009.

Nature Trust (Malta) and Harsien Patrimonju Mosti, both registered objectors, take the case into appeal  at the Planning Revisions Tribunal, but in June 2012, the board confirms the development, causing the respective NGOs to lodge a second appeal within court. This case is yet pending.

As for the development itself, work on site commenced back in Spring of 2009, but came to a sudden halt due to a number of infringements committed by the developers. Work eventually resumed in June 2011, but was suspended again due to further infringements. Site was sealed by MEPA, but work eventually resumed in late autumn 2011. At this stage the developers put all their efforts into making up the time lost.

Works proceeded for the better part of winter, despite appeal proceedings still underway, leading to an awkward situation whereby the NGO’s were fighting to save an important site that was being irreversibly damaged at the same time.  This also rendered MEPA’s assurances void, since if the developers lost the appeal, the site could never have to be returned to its original state, despite a press release by this authority in this regard, especially if deeper rock cutting was carried out.

This, along with other points of concern led HPM to raise over 24,000 signatures against this project, and any others intended on this site, and submitted their representations to the President of Malta and in Parliament. The outcome of this petition is also pending.

Read about the dodgy history of this shameful permit and see for yourselves the innumerable clauses of law that were ignored or broken altogether, and come to your own conclusions.

We now have evidence in hand to prove that both MEPA and the developers are aware of the negative impact that this project is going to cause. Written declarations, as well as verbal, publicly debated concerns about this by a number of MEPA board members, as well as within material penned by the developers architects and consultants themselves.

There was little doubt that considerable negative impact would occur, but for the first time ever since the beginning of this unfortunate struggle, we have the first admissions by a number of authority members of certain rank, as well as from the developers' side that fully confirm lots of what we have been saying for these past years. We shall be sharing the evidence shortly, in case anyone is in doubt.

The only real problem is that we at HPM actually believed that with MEPA's institution, such abuses would become something of the past, surpassed and best forgotten. How silly we were to do so, when we see the damage being committed in a scenic protected area which should have never been tarnished, let alone obliterated!

The facts speak by themselves, and there are more listed here than many have the time, mind, energy and stomach to read and see.

25th APRIL 2013

Works are going on despite further irregularities and abuse by the developers.

The above photo taken this morning, shows material placed in the ODZ area. This has been explicitly prohibited and has also led to enforcement action in the past. MEPA Enforcement Director Alex Borg in person had written to the developers making it clear that such practices were illegal and unacceptable.

This area was supposed to be hoarded off entirely, and not to be used for any reason whatsoever, other than during the final landscaping stages. The placing of any material in this area was and remains strictly prohibited.

The hoarding itself is in very bad condition and totally ineffective. There have been several issues and reports about the state and maintenance of this hoarding, and despite several visits by the enforcement directorate's officials, no concrete action was ever taken over this, which is why works are still being carried out with total disregard and in defiance of both laws and authorities.

Other infringements may be noticed. Excavations were to be kept 0.75 metres to the rubble wall. This was not adhered too and the wall has been defaced with markings in red paint. This is a protected rubble wall. Another part of this rubble wall was also destroyed, (closer to the bridge). This should have been retained.

Works are also starting at 6.00am on a daily basis, with the crane also in operation before 7am. This is causing further anguish to the elderly and other people, including families with baby children in the immediate area.

Although several reports were made to a number of authorities including the police, no enforcement action has been taken and works are still underway at full speed.

18th MAY 2013


The following points were conveyed by email to Dr. Mario Scicluna at MEPA earlier today:

The perimeter hoarding should be resilient and able to resist up to Force 8 winds, and kept in optimum condition throughout as to satisfy its purpose and function. Countless reports have been submitted to all authorities concerned with the issue and enforcement of permit conditions over the past 2 years and beyond. The persistent bad state of this hoarding shows that it was never constructed to withstand anything close to force 8 winds, and far less was it ever repaired unless due pressure had been exerted.

Ineffective Hoarding - Supposed to resist up to Force 8 Winds

This constitutes a lack of adherence to the actual and official permit conditions. It also reveals a lacking by the said authorities in verifying whether such hoarding was indeed as resilient as necessary (clearly not the case), as well as ensuring that it is kept in good condition at all times, given the sensitivity and protected status of the site.


As for the permit & works notices, the law and permit conditions clearly stipulate that such documentation should be affixed in a specific area and be visible and legible throughout the construction phase. The lack of adherence to this, for whatever reason, and especially given the blatant excuses made by the developers, is an illegality in itself and it is a shame that no serious regulatory action has ever been taken over this matter. Even more so when one considers that permits have been revoked due to non-adherence to this very point. Unless these developers enjoy some privilege of sorts, one fails to understand how this issue was left unaddressed.

The development notices may be seen affixed to the wall, illegible and contrary to what is specified by law in terms of fixture and positioning

The current location of the notices is in contravention to established regulations and all the work done in the past months has therefore been carried out in breach of this point of law.
The site entrance is monitored by CCTV cameras. If it is the case that 3rd parties have tampered with such notices, how come there is no record to prove this, and why did the developers not report the matter to the police?

The explanations given to the residential association and copied to HPM, sound very much like an ad verbatim echo of what the developers told Dr. Scicluna and other enforcement officials, but one fails to see much objectivity within. The enforcement directorate's stance concerning this permit notices issue being merely justification for why the permits are not in the place they should be, rather than what legal action is being taken for a proven breach of law.

The law does not make exceptions nor allows developers to affix notices where they deem fit due to some alleged "unknown 3rd party" actions!! What is does stipulate is that any such permit is subject to each and every clause. By default, any breaches of one or more of its binding conditions are subject to corrective legal measures.HPM has copies of both the permit and legislation in hand. Since these clauses are MEPA's working tools, we have no doubt its officials are fully aware of them too, so we need not quote directly.

This is not the first time that the notices were found to be missing or in the wrong place, so any potential action would necessitate the recognition of these serious relapses and persistence in defiance, both in face of the law and the authority itself.


When the Wied il_Ghasel Residential Committee wrote to Dr. Scicluna, copies of plans were sent along with other details concerning an imposed distance the developers were to leave from the proected valley ridge rubble wall. Reference was made to Plan 35 of PA 0556/05. Dr. Scicluna's reply stated that he could not find any trace of such conditions on file. However HPM pointed out that  although the permit was issued in February 2009, the document bears the date of October (2009). The plan is taken from MEPA's website and is 100% official and approved. This can be verified by all parties concerned, and reference is made to the document number and various relevant details visible on it.

Approved plan from MEPA's Website clearly showing that "Line of excavation to be retained approx. 0.75m away from rubble wall"

This is an important document which MEPA used as a basis for a press release concerning the safeguarding of the Girna, (incorrectly defined by the developers as a pseudo-girna). Dr. Ian Stafrace, when in tenure as MEPA's CEO, also made ample reference to this plan and more importantly the conditions within, to HPM officials in person in front of witnesses, while discussing the 0.75 metre boundary from a protected rubble wall that should have remain completely untouched.

We had complained that 0.75 metres was not adequate to safeguard the wall and he informed us that MEPA was indeed concerned about it and that discussions were in hand with the developers in view of finding a solution. We were eventually notified that the developer had forfeited his right to build in the area closest to the wall.

We have correspondence in hand concerning this issue, and although Dr. Stafrace is no longer a senior member of MEPA's administration, his statements concerning this matter where given in his official capacity as CEO, and as far as we are concerned, reflect MEPA's official position in the matter.

We shall be happy to publish any details or correspondence concerning this information if the need arises.

Considering that plan 35 is indeed a valid and approved document, the developer is to be held responsible for breaching serious conditions in not keeping the correct distance and destroying / tampering (with) the said protected rubble wall/s.

It is hoped that the relapsing attitude and consistent breach of permit conditions and other regulations is taken into consideration and serious enforcement action be taken at once to rectify this huge abuse.

The photographic and other material accumulated over several months, and going back to 2009 shows that since the permit has been issued, all its binding regulations have been consistently ignored or abused by the developer. It also shows the lax attitude and lack of proper enforcement by the respective authorities, and this in itself is a serious miscarriage of justice as well as an abuse in its own right!

5th JUNE 2013

Despite our detailed report to Dr. Mario Scicluna of MEPA's Enforcement Directorate, (see 18th May update below), no acknowledgement was received, far less any action was taken to curb the blatant infringements being committed by the developers.

This photo taken yesterday shows the state of the hoarding as well as tampering with the rubble walls and the lack of adherence to permit conditions as explained further down on this page.

Furthermore, a year ago, on the 28th June, 2012, HPM submitted the largest environmental petition in Malta's history to the highest authorities of the state including both the President and Parliament. No action has yet been taken to honour the will and requests of over 24,400 people.

As for the last legal step in Nature Trust's & HPM's joint appeal, the decision due this Spring was never proclaimed since the magistrate concerned was first removed from office, and eventually found dead. No word of when his cases shall be rescheduled for a second hearing. This despite an investment of nearly 1,000 euros in legal fees, and work on site still being permitted regardless of all!

And to add further insult to severe injury, works are now commencing at 5.15am, with police reports by disturbed residents being ignored.

            This serious state of affairs is now being reported to the press


30th JUNE 2013


Here we stand, bearing witness to what shall always be a case of extreme shame and absolute abuse!

The issue has now taken a very worrying turn and perspective, well above environmental concerns.

But we do not have the competence to judge, nor are we enabled to do so.

Hence we shall simply do what we have always done:

 Show the world what is going on, compared to what the law dictates, while we leave the final verdict with you.

Democracy and Justice MUST prevail!


 POLICY RCO.29 of 1990

"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"