The number of billboards without a permit does not exceed 40, and action is underway to remove them, the Planning Authority has said.

Reacting to a story in Times of Malta under the heading ‘Illegal billboards still stand despite notices going back two years’ the authority said the pending files include:

- Those that are still active as the contravener has not yet paid their dues for the enforcement operations that have been carried out;

- Those that have been removed by the contravener but, as it is practice for the Enforcement Unit, the enforcement file is not closed off immediately, as monitoring continues for a number of months to ensure that the removed illegality is not re-installed;

- Those that are not actually billboards but are adverts related to shops or establishments;

- Those that have multiple enforcement orders on the same billboard in view of claims of different contraveners. 

The authority denied that there are 140 illegal billboards with an active pending enforcement.  

It said it had embarked on planned action (to remove the billboards) after the publication of new regulations.

"In the case of billboards, the removal is combined for logistical reasons. As already stated, this is part of a wider cleanup exercise which is ongoing. This is not the first time that the Planning Authority has carried out this kind of exercise. Upon reviewing enforcement actions that need to be carried out, the number is way smaller than the 140 mentioned in The Times Of Malta article, and in the case of billboards these do not exceed 40, which include the six cases that the Authority acted upon last week," the authority said. 

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