Breaching the conditions of a filming permit and making a mess of one of Gozo’s best-loved touristic landmarks has cost a local production company €36,500.
Pellikola Ltd was this month held responsible for an incident last October when the HBO TV series Game of Thrones was filmed in Dwejra and other sites of historical and ecological importance in Malta and Gozo.
Things turned sour when reports emerged of construction sand being dumped all over the fossil-rich and protected site of Dwejra and, more so, when heavy machinery was used to clear the area.
NGOs were furious, particularly when a former expert of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority said the whole ecosystem had been eliminated.
Mepa had allowed the placing of sand in a particular area of Dwejra but stipulated it should be given enough forewarning to send environmental experts to monitor this procedure.
However, Mepa was not informed in time and things were not done properly. The UK production company, Fire and Blood Productions, blamed its local agent, Pellikola, for the shortcomings.
Three separate inquiries were carried out to analyse particular aspects of the incident, establishing that the rock surface was permanently damaged and the “satisfactory” conditions set out by Mepa were breached.
The company was, therefore, made to pay €15,000 (the bank guarantee imposed by Mepa) and an additional €21,500, a settlement it accepted and paid this month, which happens to be the same month the mediaeval TV series premiered in the UK and the US.
The case is now closed, according to a Mepa spokesman, and no further action will be taken as the final clean-up of the area was carried out satisfactorily.