Updated 10.28am

Sixteen NGOs want the government to immediately publish details of a deal it is poised to strike with hunters regarding Miżieb and Mellieħa’s Aħrax.

The agreement, which was revealed by the media this week, would see management of the natural open spaces transferred to the hunters’ federation FKNK and would formalise a long-standing claim the federation has made to Miżieb. 

NGOs fear the deal will force the general public out of the popular areas for nine months of the year, saying the hunting lobby “wants exclusive access during open seasons to hunt quail, turtle dove and also rabbits”.

They have asked for an immediate meeting with Prime Minister Robert Abela and Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia about the plan. 

The proposal was put to Cabinet by the prime minister himself, and in their statement on Saturday, NGOs asked why Robert Abela had not publicly divulged its details. 

“The prime minister not only bypassed the Lands Authority but also ignored the sentiments of the general public, which presently enjoys access to these areas for walks, picnics and camping,” they said. 

“In this particular moment, when most of the country is self-isolating at home, we find it appalling that a lobby can be given two large open spaces such as these, without proper consultation and in total secrecy. This is not the lobbying transparency we have been promised.”

The group of NGOs said that they were strongly opposed to the way in which public access to such areas was being limited and to the way in which “Cabinet treats public assets as its own”.

Any decision on the lands should only be taken after proper public consultation, they said. 

Which NGOs signed the appeal?

1.     Archaeological Society of Malta
2.     Bicycle Advocacy Group
3.     BirdLife Malta
4.     Din L-Art Ħelwa
5.     Extinction Rebellion Malta
6.     Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar 
7.     Friends of the Earth Malta
8.     Futur Ambjent Wieħed
9.     Għaqda Siġar Maltin
10.  Isles of the Left
11.  Moviment Graffitti
12.  Nature Trust Malta
13.  Outdoor Recreation and Camping Association Malta
14.  Ramblers Association Malta
15.  Noise Abatement Society Malta
16. Kamra tal-Periti  

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