An illegal trench dug up in Comino four months ago to repair a supply cable is still exposed, with a pending application to sanction the works.

The excavation works were halted in April after enforcement officers slapped Enemalta Corporation with a stop notice for lacking a permit.

The corporation said it had obtained a trenching permit from Transport Malta, which was required to excavate in public areas or places such as roads, tracks or footpaths.

An application to sanction the works was filed in May and a planning authority spokesman confirmed it was still pending.

The trench, which was dug up to carry out repairs on a damaged electricity cable that supplied Gozo with electricity, is around 10 cm wide, 30 to 40 cm deep, and about 1.6 kilometres long.

It almost cuts across the tiny 3.5-square-kilometre island and was dug up using heavy machinery shipped to Comino, which is classified as a special area of conservation.

An Enemalta spokesman explained that the works were related to the repair of damage caused by a private contractor on a “vital cable which supplies energy to Gozo”.

The spokesman said there was a valid trenching permit issued by Transport Malta for the works but they were stopped following a planning authority stop notice.

“Enemalta has applied to sanction the works which are being done along the route of the pre-existing cable trench. The planning authority required that Enemalta (digs) a new trench along existing roads where possible,” the spokesman said.

The new trench and filling of the trench in question would be carried out with a planning authority permit, the spokesman added.

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