Seven environment officers are monitoring works on the set for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s film at Mġarr ix-Xini, according to the planning authority.
The officers form part of a monitoring team that is operating on a roster basis to ensure works are in line with planning conditions imposed on the producers to protect the environmentally sensitive location.
Complete reversibility of all interventions and the removal of all props and sets is a permit condition
Officers visit the area twice daily, a spokesman for the Malta Environment and Planning Authority said, when asked about the level of monitoring at the Natura 2000 site.
He explained that the film set will consist mainly of free-standing scaffolding and timber structures that will use “non-invasive techniques” to place them on site.
“Complete reversibility of all interventions, and the complete removal of all props and sets at the end of the filming period, is one of the conditions of the permits issued by Mepa, and these conditions are assured against hefty bank guarantees,” the spokesman said.
Filming will start at the end of August when the popular bay and creek will be closed to the public until mid-October.
The location prompted concerns over possible environmental damage that may be caused to the site, especially after the debacle four years ago when quarry sand was dumped on the rocks at Dwejra during the filming of another production.
The spokesman confirmed that the use of “unconsolidated materials”, such as the large amounts of quarry sand used to alter Dwejra, was not envisaged.
“This does not form part of the proposal submitted by the film producers and in any case, this would not be allowed due to environmental risks, and the risk of dispersal into a protected marine environment,” the planning authority said.
A white tent was erected in the fields on the eastern side of the creek last week and will serve as a site office for the production.
Scaffolding works are well under way and the interventions at beach level are expected to screen the only restaurant on site.
The Mepa spokesman said in agreement with the film producers it was decided at a very early stage that the production would avoid any intervention in the western part, which forms part of the Ta’ Ċenċ special conservation area.
“This was one of the main reasons for the visit by Mepa officials with the Malta Film Commission and the producers that happened a few weeks ago,” he said.
The Sunday Times of Malta had reported that Mepa officials had already visited the site before a formal application had been filed by the producers.
Industry sources said the film scripted by Ms Jolie was expected to pump some €10 million into the economy.
The Hollywood couple are no strangers to Malta, having been here when Mr Pitt starred in World War Z, a zombie movie that was partly filmed on the island in 2011.