A Nationalist government would ensure that no development takes place on ODZ land, party leader Bernard Grech said on Tuesday.

Speaking during a party question and answer event in Paola, Grech pledged that a government under his leadership would make sure that no ODZ land was ever developed again unless the project was approved by two-thirds of MPs. 

"ODZ land will remain out of development zone land. This is a clear and determined declaration by the PN. But it is not enough for the party to make this declaration on its own," Grech said.

"As leader of a PN government, I would ensure that ODZ land is protected with a two-thirds parliamentary majority. ODZ land will only be used for development, following approval by a two-thirds majority, for projects that benefit the community, such as a school or a hospital," he said, adding that a PN government would not repeat past mistakes. 

According to Grech, the party would not only “not tolerate” any development on ODZ land but would ensure there were more open spaces for the public across the island. 

The government had revamped its ODZ policy in 2020 after it was first amended in 2014. The policy has proven controversial since its introduction, with critics saying it made it much easier to build in such zones. Despite the changes, the policy continued to be criticised, with experts flagging loopholes.

Among others, in March Times of Malta had reported that a stretch of open land at the entrance to Għasri was being targeted by farm applications, which risked turning the area into an industrial zone, paving the way for other developments.

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