The Nationalist Party intends to map all the trees in Malta and score local councils on their green initiatives under electoral proposals that will “go big” on the environment.

A source close to the party said the PN’s proposals, due to be launched next week, will focus on expanding green and open spaces, through a special fund, in localities throughout the islands.

“The environment is going to be a very major and serious issue for the party. We plan to go big on the environment,” the source said.

The PN sees a “lack of planning” in towns and villages, so, if elected to government, it would make a strategic effort to plant and integrate more trees in communities.

All the trees in the country would be mapped and a ‘green score’ awarded to localities.

Native tree species, access to the public

The exercise would also identify the communities that need to be given priority in terms of the environment.

“We believe that emphasis should be placed on planting native tree species which are suitable for our local climate and serve to sustain our local ecosystem,” an outline document seen by Times of Malta says.

“Accessibility to the public is also crucial. A number of initiatives could be spearheaded through this measure, including funding for local councils to plant more trees in localities.”

Fund to invest in open spaces

The PN will also be proposing a central fund for local councils to invest in more open spaces at the core of towns and villages.

The fund would cover ongoing costs such as landscaping and maintenance.

Open to a range of green initiatives, the fund would be used to implement projects that could offset the impact of intensive development.

Local councils would also be able to use the fund to purchase and develop land – such as abandoned plots used as unofficial landfills – which may be suitable for redevelopment into an open space.

Boundary wall around abandoned urban sites

The PN also wants to introduce rules that would bind contractors to build a protective boundary wall around abandoned urban sites and empower local councils to intervene at the expense of the contractor should they fail to cooperate.

“The objective is to overturn this green deficit in communities and improve landscaping to reclaim open spaces and green lungs in communities,” the source said.

“While the party does have larger goals in mind, such as purchasing land in Ħondoq ir-Rummien and turning it into a public park, we feel that these initiatives also need to be carried out on a local level.”

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