Taxpayers will have to fork out €20,107 after State agency Infrastructure Malta was fined for carrying out roadworks without a permit, the second time it was penalised in under seven months.

This latest fine was imposed by the Planning Authority as “sanctioning fee” in connection with a project carried out last year to widen a traffic junction in Ħal Farruġ, limits of Luqa.

Only last August, Infrastructure Malta was slapped with a €42,454 fine over the controversial Tal-Balal road-widening project, which started even before a permit was issued.

The agency opted to sanction the work

In both instances, the agency opted to “sanction” the work, the term used in applications to regularise illegal development.

In the case of Ħal Farruġ, the sanctioning application was filed as part of a second phase of the same project, which has just commenced. The latter phase comprises the widening of the upper part of this 1.7-kilometre road all the way to Triq l-Avjazzjoni Ċivili near the old airport. Though the application is still pending, it is being recommended for approval by the PA case officer.

In his report, he points out that the sanctioning applies for work carried out last year that involved the removal of a boundary wall next to St Vincent de Paul Residence, removal of soil, relocation of trees and light posts and the shifting of a central strip.

The project aims to remove the bottlenecks at either end of the road in Qormi and Luqa respectively.

From an environmental perspective, the case officer noted that the main concern was the uptake of agricultural land to increase the overall footprint of the road.

It transpires that this will require the expropriation of 9,000 square metres of land, 6,000 square metres of which are of an agricultural nature. Moreover, 69 trees will have to be uprooted, 76 transplanted, 117 would be undisturbed and a further 45 planted.

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