Proposed new laws to protect local trees and woodlands are a step in the right direction but fail to highlight the importance of including greenery in urban design, Friends of the Earth Malta have said. 

The Environment and Resources Authority unveiled plans to protect trees from construction works and other potentially harmful activities late last month, with a consultation period ending on March 1. 

In a statement reacting to the proposals, environmental NGO Friends of the Earth welcomed the proposals but noted that they fell short of driving home the importance of trees and woodlands in both rural ecosystems and urban areas.

The NGO noted that Malta had "alarming" rates of asthma and respiratory diseases among children, with air quality standards often falling short of EU benchmarks. 

READ: ERA proposes new rules to protect trees

Empirical studies, Friends of the Earth said, indicated that trees and greenery in cities helped alleviate air and noise pollution effects. 

Other suggested amendments to the ERA policies made by the NGO include: 

  • Making historical or landmark trees the equivalent of monuments, and ensuring they are scheduled and protected 

  • Distinguishing between harmful alien species and potentially useful ones, such as the Ficus or Eucalyptus 

  • Ensuring the policy framework implemented is focused on increasing and promoting trees in Malta, not just minimising damage done to them

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.