Gozo's iconic Azure Window has been officially established as a no-go zone, the government announced this morning.
Trespassers could face a hefty €1,500 fine and bollards will be installed close to the landmark which is slowly being eroded, Environment Minister Jose Herrera told a news conference.
The emergency order will be valid until June next year, when it will be replaced by permanent legislation that will allow the Environment Resources Authority to hand out administrative penalties on the spot.
The decision comes just days after a video emerged of a man jumping off the rock, dislodging rocks in the process.
The emergency conservation order was published in Government Gazette last night. A special committee has also been set up to analyse ways and means of protecting the landmark.
The structure consists of two main rock layers: Upper Coralline Limestone, a hard, durable stone, and Blue Clay Limestone, a softer, malleable stone susceptible to erosion.
As much as 90 per cent of the outer layer is estimated to have eroded over the past 30 years.
The Gozo Tourism Association and the San Lawrenz council earlier this year said that allowing visitors to walk on top was of grave concern but they lacked the resources needed to monitor the area adequately. A park ranger will now be hired to monitor the site.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us