The government is allocating €10 million for community greening projects by local councils, NGOs and individuals.
The scheme was announced by Environment Minister Miriam Dalli and Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Chris Bonnett at a press conference on Wednesday.
Steve Ellul, chief executive of the Project Green agency, explained that the scheme is open to local councils, schools, civic centres and NGOs as well as individuals who propose the green regeneration of existing areas.
Applicants must present detailed plans about how they envision upgrading the proposed areas as well as a detailed ten-year maintenance plan to ensure that the projects enjoy as much longevity as possible, he said. All of the proposed projects must be completed by 2025 in order to benefit from the scheme.
Dalli said that the project aims to include as many people as possible and give citizens the opportunity to contribute their ideas and see them put to good use in projects that will benefit their locality.
“We believe the environment is not the domain of the few but the mission of the many,” she said.
“We have an opportunity to improve our open spaces and perhaps give those forgotten or run-down areas a new lease on life and make them accessible to all.”
Dalli said that the agency will be insisting on high quality for the best return on investment.
Applications will open in the coming weeks and stakeholders will be invited for a consultation meeting.
No new complaints about Birżebbuġa tuna recycling plant
Taking questions from Times of Malta, Dalli said that ERA officials are regularly inspecting the tuna recycling plant in Birżebbuġa and that there had been no more complaints of foul smells since December.
“I have been following the situation and I issued clear instructions to both ERA and the Water Services Corporation to follow up on every complaint made,” she said.
Last year, activists had urged the plant to immediately suspend its operations, as residents reported an unbearable stench.
Asked what the ministry’s position is on plans to shift existing fish farms to the north of Malta, potentially creating issues of slime in bays like Hondoq and Blue Lagoon, Dalli said that any plans will be subject to an environmental impact assessment by ERA and that the solution with the least impact will be found.