The Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development, a key document on which planning policies are based, will begin a review process that will focus on “intelligent planning and sustainable development”. 

Environment Minister Aaron  Farrugia said the plan would be put under review during a press conference at the Environment Ministry in Santa Venera on Wednesday, alongside the launch of a National Strategy for the Environment. 

Launched in 2015, the SPED replaced the Structure Plan when the former Malta Environment and Planning Authority was split into two separate agencies for planning and the environment respectively.

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Considered by architects and planners as the ‘bible’ of planning and development rules, all foundational planning policies, like local plans, are derived from it. 

The split of the PA from the environmental wing is widely seen to have given the upper hand to developers, leaving the ERA toothless to curb development spilling over into rural areas.

Touted as a “Wellbeing First” review of Malta’s principal planning policies (see document in pdf link below), the minister said additional studies will be conducted alongside the review which will look into the planning needs of the future in different sectors and balance them with the safeguarding of the environment.

“Politicians are often criticised for thinking in five-year cycles, but we are looking to the future as well as taking immediate action to have intelligent planning today instead of tomorrow,” Farrugia said.

“The government has chosen the most ambitious and challenging positions, where national wellbeing, economy and environment will be considered at par as deciding factors when it comes to developing policy.” 

The launch of the National Strategy of the Environment will see the development of policies that will carry Malta through to 2050 in three 10-year cycles, Farrugia said.

The plan will include strategies on waste management and working towards a carbon-neutral footprint. A final draft is expected in the coming weeks and a public consultation is expected to be launched in September.

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