Ramblers Association lamented on Thursday that a gate "illegally installed" in 2021 on a countryside passageway is still blocking public access from Baħrija to il-Blata tal-Melħ.

The NGO claimed it was stopped from holding a press conference on site after being "confronted" by landowners.

In a statement, the NGO said the planning commission had rejected an application to sanction it on April 8. 

In its decision, Ramblers noted, the commission said the gate was blocking an established pre-1967 pathway, and the PA had subsequently issued an enforcement notice for its removal.

The gate remained where it was, restricting access to the pathway for a year, Ramblers added.

The association flagged "the unjust sanctioning system, through which those who operate illegally obtain a stay on enforcement action and do not face any consequences, while the walking public is penalised".

It called on the PA to declare whether enforcement or daily penalties will continue to be put off if an appeal is filed.

"In the meantime, the association could not carry out a planned press conference today after it was confronted by landowners on site and the media was blocked from filming.

"Despite the frustrating situation, the association appeals to the public to behave in an orderly manner and to not trespass into other parts of the site while this matter is resolved," it added.

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