Architect Robert Musumeci has been appointed part-time consultant and personal adviser to Michael Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, whose responsibilities include Mepa.  

Addressing a news conference this morning, Dr Farrugia said that Mr Musumeci  had already acted as a consultant in the Mepa reform during the previous legislature and he would give advice, especially on how the authority's planning and environment functions should be split.

Asked about Mr Musumeci’s pay, Dr Farrugia said discussions were going on but Mr Musumeci would not be employed on a full time basis.

The new Mepa board was announced two days ago.

Dr Farrugia said the government members of the board had different and wide remits and their experience would be used in future, especially in the revision of local plans.

Dr Farrugia said he would hold regular meetings with the board and also planned to consult with the two environment planning commissions.

Dr Farrugia said that, in the coming weeks, a call for expression of interest was to be launched for a major project. He would not say what the project was saying this first had to be finalised with Mepa and the Lands Department.

Mew Mepa chairman Vince Cassar pointed out that not so long ago he was on the other side of the room presenting projects, so he had a very good idea of what went on.

A more user friendly and transparent system was needed especially since Mepa had a very important impact on the economy and the environment. One of the big projects was the splitting of the planning and environment functions. This should be done by the end of next year

Dr Farrugia said the board would be working on improving the time frames of certain projects and those who signed off projects would be responsible for their decisions.

Mr Musumeci is a former PN Mayor of Siggiewi. He did not seek re-election and up to recently co-resented a discussion programme on the PL's television station.