The unsightly fuel storage tanks at Birzebbuga are expected to disappear within the next two years while six new tanks expected to cost around Lm2 million will be built at Kordin and Ras Hanzir.
Investments Minister Austin Gatt said that following protests against the proposals to shift the tanks to Has-Saptan, he had asked new Enemalta chairman Alex Tranter to look into the matter.
It was decided to replace the existing tanks located at Kordin, which had been badly constructed, with four new tanks. Two smaller tanks would be built at Ras Hanzir.
The mayors of Birzebbuga and Gudja, Joseph Farrugia and John Mary Calleja, thanked Dr Gatt for listening to their pleas and removing the tanks from Birzebbuga and not locating them at Has-Saptan, as originally intended. "It was the Birzebbuga council's dream to have the tanks removed from there," Mr Farrugia said, while Mr Calleja said the site at Has-Saptan would have been detrimental to the people of Gudja and he was glad that the location had been changed.
A development brief will be issued for the area to be vacated at Birzebbuga and the site will be used for residential, tourism and commercial purposes, Dr Gatt said.
The new site at Kordin lies in an industrial zone and tanks already existed there so no objections are expected to be raised by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.
A call for tenders would be made at a later stage and the whole project is expected to be completed in about two years' time, Dr Gatt said.
The tanks will have vapour recovery units that will prevent the toxic vapours from being dispersed into the atmosphere.
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