Local councils have proposed raising the “insignificant” fines imposed on building contractors who ignore rules and block roads at will.

The councils said the €23 fine was so trivial compared to the amount that would be lost if there was no permit to cover the work that contractors preferred to pay the fine and continue with the job.

They have proposed that the fine increases to at least the equal value of the work, so as to serve as a deterrent.

This was one of many proposals contained in a document prepared by Local Councils’ Association president Mario Fava which is expected to be discussed by councils in July.

The meeting will specifically discuss difficulties faced by councils on a daily basis when one or construction vehicles block several of their streets.

Mr Fava explained that the law gave councils the power to issue permits and manage the locality’s streets in everyone’s best interest, including residents and motorists. He said that councils remained legally responsible for anything that happened on its streets. 

How many people have been fined over such incidents?

The Malta Developers Association have also proposed a classification for contractors, where they are classified according to their experience. Moreover, the classification would be linked to a points system, with points deducted for the contractors who disobeyed regulations.

Mr Fava also mentioned the problems created by contractors who left their heavy vehicles on site, with all the problems and health hazards this created. He said that unless parked within the construction site itself, heavy vehicles and any other equipment should be removed every evening and brought back on site the following morning.

Skips on construction sites should be emptied regularly and should not pose any danger to residents using the road.

Mr Fava questioned the enforcement of the present regulations and asked who was shouldering the responsibility for such breaches.

“How long will we continue seeing concrete trucks being cleaned in the streets? How many people have been fined over such incidents?” he asked.

Mr Fava also suggested a level of protection for property owners close to large projects who feel compelled to sell their properties so the developer would end up with a larger project.

“The aim of this document is not to give any magical solutions or drastic decisions but to discuss the issue with all the stakeholders,” the document concludes.

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