Alternattiva Demokratika yesterday criticised comments made by Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) chairman Sam Mifsud that the authority's policy is to spread places of entertainment to the north and to develop the coast.

Party leader Arnold Cassola described the development of the little coastline that is still left unbuilt as preposterous.

AD's spokesman on sustainable development, Carmel Cacopardo said the MTA's attitude to the proposal to develop Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando's site at Mistra showed that the MTA did not care about environmental policies.

"Had it cared, it would have noted immediately that the site forms part of a proposal for a Natura 2000 site and, therefore, is protected in terms of the Habitats Directive as transposed into Maltese law," he said.

In his comments, made in court during a hearing on the Mistra case, Mr Mifsud said the MTA made its recommendations purely from a tourism point of view without considering the environment, which fell within the remit of another organisation.

The Labour Party said in a statement that Mr Mifsud's comments went against policies of sustainable development.

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Labour spokesman on tourism, and Leo Brincat, spokesman on the environment, said public authorities needed to work together, more so as the environment formed an important component of tourism.

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