Alan Deidun has championed the fight against building in outside development zones but he harbours no illusion at what appears to be the relative ease with which permits are being dished out.

His answer, when asked for advice on how to build four rooms and possibly a swimming pool in ODZ, is impregnated with sarcasm: "I’d tell you just go ahead and build before someone notices and then find a good architect who knows what policies and loopholes have to be attacked."

Prof. Deidun's reply is not just a tongue-in-cheek comment but one grounded in a reality that last year alone saw 750 building permits issued for ODZ developments – an 11-year high.

Interviewed by senior journalist Kurt Sansone on Times Talk, Prof. Deidun also fields questions on the traffic problem and the collapse of the Azure Window. 

"While I can understand the human emotions linked to the loss… I would not latch the environment to that because the real problems in Dwejra are not visible such as the number of fishing nets cast in the area,” he said.

He also did not resist commenting on the irony of those who wept at the loss while parking their car on endemic plants as they snapped pictures of the site where the rock once stood.