Campaigners have raised €20,000 in less than 24 hours to mount a last-ditch legal challenge against the controversial Central Link project.

On Monday, fourteen NGOs and a group of residents called on the public to support the crowdfunding effort. By Tuesday they had raised their target.

In a joint statement, they said they were "overwhelmed" by the support of the public.

The money will cover fees for an appeal to the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT), they said.

Environmentalists oppose the road-widening project, which aims to relieve traffic congestion between Rabat and Mrieħel.

The €55 million project will see Infrastructure Malta uproot almost 550 trees – half of which are protected species. 

Planning permission was secured last Thursday after a long and heated Planning Authority hearing.

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The NGOs said people had demonstrated their opposition to the project by the "record" fundraising.  

“We’re overwhelmed by the support that we have received from the people over the last hours and by their encouraging messages," they said in a statement.

The NGOs said they will now be discussing the next steps with their legal team with a view to mounting the necessary legal challenges. Donations will continue to be received .

The NGOs are: Bicycle Advocacy Group, BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Friends of the Earth Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Futur Ambjent Wieħed, Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi, Għaqda Siġar Maltin, Isles of the Left,, Youth in Agriculture Foundation, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta, Ramblers Association, and The Archaeological Society.

People may donate online or by bank transfer to:

Bank Account: Bicycle Advocacy Group
Bank Name: Bank of Valletta
BIC/SWIFT: VALLMTMT
IBAN: MT21VALL22013000000040021393468