Environmental enforcers have cracked down on perma-campers at Comino's only campsite.
The crackdown comes nine months after Times of Malta exposed the semi-permanent structures that littered the Tal-Ful campsite, and coincides with activist action to clear deckchairs from the island's much-maligned Blue Lagoon.
The Environment and Resources Authority, which is responsible for the Tal-Ful campsite, said that it had informed campers of new regulations, introduced in October 2021.
Those rules are fairly comprehensive, setting noise decibel limits, a light and power curfew and even stipulating how large the groundsheet under your tent can be.
Here is what those new rules state.
Setting up camp
- Tents and camps must be made of fabric and anchored using rope and pegs, so nothing permanent or semi-permanent.
- You cannot set up fences, external canopies or platforms at your campsite.
- Each camp can only have one umbrella (max diameter: 2 metres).
- You can only take up to 4 square metres of area outside your tent, covered with a picnic mat.
- Collapsible chairs and tables are allowed, but any other furniture is not. So no sofas, mattresses or hammocks.
Banned: chilling on a hammock. Photo: Jonathan Borg
- You’re allowed a single groundsheet that goes beneath your tent and can extend up to 30cm out from any side.
- You cannot dig up soil, add soil or alter the ground in any way when setting up camp.
- You cannot dismantle or move rubble walls, fences or other structures.
- Camps must be at least 2 metres away from each other and 2 metres away from trees or shrubs.
- Each camper can stay for up to a maximum of 30 days. Equipment cannot be left at the campsite for any longer than that.
- Noise must not exceed 60 decibels from 10m away.
- No fires: that includes campires and bonfires. If you want to cook, you must use a gas-fired cooking stove.
- You can bring up to 10 litres of fuel and 2kg of gas for cooking or lighting per camp. Anything combustible has to be stored in sealable leak-proof containers.
- Cooking stoves must be at least 5 metres away from tree canopies or 10 metres away from tree trunks, whichever is larger distance.
Comino's a gem but you can't stay there for longer than a month at a time.
Power and lights
- Lights out at 11pm each day, until 7am each morning. Lights cannot be pointed at the sky or sea.
- Each camp is allowed a generator, but it must be of the silent inverter type.
- Generators cannot generate more than 2.2kW. They must not emit any more than 60dB from 10 metres away.
- Generators must be switched off between midnight and 6am.
- No fireworks are allowed.
Watch the rubble walls - they're protected. Photo: Jonathan Borg
Getting there and packing up
- All vehicles – motorised, electric, campervans etc – are prohibited.
- No dumping of fuel or chemicals.
- Leave only footprints – anything you bring with you, must be taken away when you leave
- If you need a toilet, use the ones provided. No excrement outdoors.
Leave only footprints. Anything you bring to the campsite, must be removed. Photo: Jonathan Borg
If you are caught breaking these rules, you could be fined anything from €500 to thousands of euro.