(Adds government's statement)

The Opposition has filed a motion urging the government to expropriate a plot of land metres away from Mgarr's Ta' Hagrat temples, which are a Unesco heritage site.

The move came in the wake of a recent Mepa appeals board decision that confirmed a development permit for a villa on a plot inside the buffer zone surrounding the temples.

In its decision, Mepa had said that the permit was in line with existing planning policies. A petition has also been launched against this development by the FAA which has gathered some 1,500 signatures.

Addressing a news conference at the temples' entrance in Mgarr, PN deputy leader Mario de Marco said that the Opposition's proposals were in line with a recent opinion penned by Labour deputy leader Toni Abela.

Dr de Marco questioned whether the justice and culture ministers had condoned Mepa's decision.

The motion was signed by PN MP Ryan Callus.

Government will be guided by need to safeguard heritage

In a statement this evening, the government said that it would always be guided by the need to safeguard the country’s unique cultural and environmental heritage.

It said that as soon as the Appeal’s Board decision confirming the permit was issued, the government noted the decision and the Parliamentary Secretary immediately asked to see what the situation was.

In another statement, it said that contrary to what Dr de Marco claimed the government had internally discussed how best to proceed about the matter.


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