Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield on Wednesday urged the government to take action over a foul smell of gas emitting from the Tank Cleaning Farm in Fort Ricasoli.

He said when speaking in Parliament that the nauseating smell was an inconvenience to people who lived nearby and all those who went to Rinella Bay.

“The time has come to decide on the future of the Tank Cleaning Farm,” he said. At a time of increased health and environmental awareness, it was unacceptable that the current situation was allowed to persist.

He said the Tank Cleaning Farm could be relocated, but that could create problems for other neighbours – unless it was moved offshore.

Alternatively, he said, investment needed to be made on its equipment to prevent seepage and emissions.

Indeed, a study should be carried out to assess if the odours from the facility were hazardous.
 
Mr Bedingfield said action also needed to be taken about Fort Ricasoli itself. This was the biggest fort in Europe, it was even bigger than Vittoriosa.

Ways had to be found how it could be rehabilitated and used in a way that protected and promoted Malta’s heritage, while also yielding jobs and wealth. In this context, he looked forward to plans for the fort by the Malta Film Commission

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Mr Beddingfield said he did not agree with the way how successive governments had handed out properties forming part of Malta’s heritage to the private sector, without monitoring to ensure their preservation.

Too many properties handed to the private sector were now in a sorry state. He had recently complained about the state of the palace of the Captain of the Galleys, but there were others.

In contrast, properties handed to organisations such as Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, like Fort Rinella and Notre Dame Gate, were very well taken care of.

Malta had a sensitive government which heard the people’s pleas and he was confident that action could be taken on the points he had raised, Mr Bedingfield said.