Plan­ning gain for Marsaxlokk in re­turn for Elec­tro­gas per­mits amount to €125,000

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

Elec­tro­gas had to pay a plan­ning gain of €125,000 for the per­mits it was granted, yet the sta­tion it­self is an eye­sore for Marsaxlokk res­i­dents, in ad­di­tion to the enor­mous LNG tanker that must berth there.

The de­vel­op­ment per­mis­sions for the con­struc­tion of the com­bined cycle gas tur­bine and liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas re­ceiv­ing stor­age and re-gasi­fi­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties, as well as the con­struc­tion of the jetty and an­cil­lary fa­cil­i­ties were sub­ject to this plan­ning gain of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tives in Part­ner­ship Pro­gramme (EIPP). The Plan­ning Au­thor­ity’s (PA) de­vel­op­ment per­mis­sion read that the plan­ning gain shall be used to fund en­vi­ron­men­tal im­prove­ment projects in the lo­cal­ity of the site. “The plan­ning gain is not re­fund­able and funds shall be utilised as re­quired and di­rected by the Malta En­vi­ron­ment and Plan­ning Au­thor­ity (MEPA)”.

Elec­tro­gas has al­ready put the amount owed into the fund, a PA spokesper­son told this news­room. The €125,000 could be seen as a pal­try sum when com­pared with the €955,000 Malta Freeport Ter­mi­nals was or­dered to pay as a plan­ning gain for projects in Birzeb­buga where four cranes were sanc­tioned. This de­ci­sion is cur­rently be­ing ap­pealed by the Malta Freeport Cor­po­ra­tion.

When con­tacted, Marsaxlokk Mayor Ho­race Gauci di­rected this news­room to the Coun­cil’s Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary, Dun­can Hall.

Asked whether this amount was enough, Mr Hall said the sum that needed to be paid is pro­por­tional as dic­tated by the laws of Malta, and that nei­ther the coun­cil nor any au­thor­ity can de­cide on th­ese things. “There is a law that reg­u­lates the per­cent­age of the amount that has to be paid. The amount is placed in a fund ad­min­is­tered by Cen­tral Government and the Plan­ning Au­thor­ity, and is at the dis­posal of the lo­cal coun­cil which, when the coun­cil wants to un­der­take a project, can ap­ply to use those funds for it.”

Asked whether there are any projects in the pipe­line which the coun­cil would plan to use those funds for, Mr Hall said that “at the mo­ment, there is the on­go­ing Marsaxlokk re­gen­er­a­tion plan and it is not the time for other projects as it would cre­ate ex­ces­sive in­con­ve­nience. The coun­cil will how­ever dis­cuss and de­cide what projects can be un­der­taken through the use of the funds”.

As for his per­sonal opinion as to whether the plan­ning gain should have been higher, he be­lieves it to be a just amount when con­sid­er­ing the Marsaxlokk re­gen­er­a­tion plan, which he said has a value of around €6 mil­lion.

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