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