Eight salt pans and their surroundings in Salini will be restored after the planning authority approved a permit to rehabilitate the area.

The project to restore the salt pans, protected by law, forms part of a three-year government project.

The pans date back to the Knights of the Order of St John and are the only man-made ones in the Mediterranean.

The planning authority yesterday approved an outline development permit for the area, which also includes the construction of a car park, an interpretation centre and bird observation posts. In fact, the area, which covers about 18,000 square metres, is mainly marshland and garigue, which are scheduled sites.

Two jetties for boats powered by an electric motor will be built, one near the marshland and the other one next to the interpretation centre.

Through the project, the big metal huts, which were once used to store salt, will be demolished and rebuilt.

The rehabilitation project is estimated to cost of €10 million, of which €4 million will be spent on re-routing Salina road. It falls under the government's tourism plan for the BuÄĦibba and Qawra area and also includes the afforestation of the park near the salt pans and the rehabilitation of Kennedy Grove.

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