Moviment Graffitti unveils 134-point document  on planning and construction reform |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
10/10/2020

Moviment Graffitti unveils 134-point document on planning and construction reform

Activists seek meeting with PM, Ministers, to put an end to abuse and improve quality of life of residents


Moviment Graffitti has unveiled a set of wide-ranging proposals aimed at reforming the planning and construction sector and beyond. In a presentation to the press held this morning, the activist group launched “Reforming Planning and Construction in Malta,” a document with 134 proposals split over six distinct sectors, created after a year of technical consultation and with the input of various groups and individuals.


The document comes a year after the Iż-Żejjed Kollu Żejjed (“Enough is Enough”) protest of the 7th September 2019, and in the wake of a spate of construction-related accidents including the death of Miriam Pace in her own home earlier this year as well as the rapidly deteriorating state of our natural environment and our urban spaces.


The six main domains of this reform document are planning policies, the authorities responsible for planning and the environment, large-scale projects, the regulation of the construction industry, roads and transportation, and respect for the country and its ecosystem.


Among the key demands, the first chapter requests the introduction of a new policy that replaces SPED and which has a long-term view up to 2050 in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The chapter regarding policies also demands better protection of UCA’s, with a focus on removing the loopholes in various policies (FAR, SPED, Rural Policy) and offering better protection to buildings of historical and cultural importance.


When it comes to the authorities, the document advocates a radical overhaul of the way PA board and commission members are chosen, with the introduction of parliamentary grillings for their members, and a parliamentary vote on a number of board and commission members. Under the proposed reform, members should be held personally responsible for their conduct, especially in terms of breaching policies, their own code of ethics, conflict of interest, undue influence and other improper behaviour.


Another bone of contention between residents and developers is that of large-scale projects. Among others it is being proposed that Local Councils affected by major private projects falling under Schedule 1 are given the power to impose a condition that a development must be approved by a local referendum which is to be held within 30 days of the permit’s approval. The document also recommends a moratorium on large-scale projects until both national and localised Masterplans are enacted.


Some of the most salient proposals are found in the fourth chapter, related to the regulation of the Construction Industry. A key proposal is the introduction of a measure by which legal, psychological and logistical support to residents stricken by construction accidents is paid for from a fund populated by mandatory fees from developers, until responsibility is legally established. Other proposals include a limit on the number of concurrent permits issued in a set area or neighbourhood, the creation of a public complaints system, linked to a penalty points system, so that contractors or developers repeatedly falling foul of the law are publicly blacklisted, and a legal framework which brings together all building and construction regulations within one Act. There are also provisions related to construction workers and their protection, especially considering the lax health and safety situation in this particular industry.


As for roads and transportation, the main drive is for the introduction of an efficient and free public transport system, with shorter, better and more frequent routes instead of a public service that aims to operate for profit. Incentives for bicycle use and the creation of safe bike lanes also feature in this section. Another demand is to repeal the system whereby Infrastructure Malta can asphalt and widen country lanes without following the full planning application process.


In the sixth chapter, issues such as waste, the recycling of construction material, land reclamation, and solar rights are tackled, but also the hot issue of public land being transferred to private interests, where Moviment Graffitti are demanding an immediate halt to such land transfers and the creation of more public spaces.


“This document is the fruit of a year of consultation with key experts and NGOs,” said a spokesperson for Moviment Graffitti. “We have had a tragic year in construction and our quality of life is steadily deteriorating due to a rotten planning system. The authorities can no longer sit idly by as if nothing were happening. Moreover, we feel the business lobby’s hegemony over politics has stifled reforms for too long.”


“We intend to present these proposals to the Prime Minister, the Environment Minister and the Transport Minister, with a view of improving the quality of life of many residents affected by continuous construction. We believe their reaction to these proposals is to be interpreted as a message of their willingness to improve the situation,” said the spokesperson.


Reforming Construction and Planning in Malta is available for free on www.movimentgraffitti.org and is endorsed by 23 groups.


_________________________________________________________________


Il-Moviment Graffitti jippreżenta dokument b’134 punt dwar ir-riforma fl-ippjanar u l-kostruzzjoni


L-attivisti jitolbu għal laqgħa mal-PM u l-Ministri sabiex jitwaqqaf l-abbuż darba għal dejjem u titjieb il-kwalià tal-ħajja tar-residenti


Il-Moviment Graffitti żvela għadd ta’ proposti b’firxa wiesgħa li għandhom l-għan li jwasslu għal riforma fis-settur tal-ippjanar u l-kostruzzjoni u lil hinn. Waqt preżentazzjoni quddiem l-istampa li saret dalgħodu, il-grupp ta’ attivisti nieda d-dokument “Riforma fl-Ippjanar u l-Kostruzzjoni f’Malta,” dokument b’134 proposta mifrux fuq sitt setturi differenti, li tfassal wara sena ta’ konsultazzjoni teknika u grazzi għall-kontribuzzjoni ta’ diversi gruppi u individwi.


Id-dokument jasal sena wara l-protesta “Iż-Żejjed Kollu Żejjed” tas-7 ta’ Settembru 2019, u fid-dawl ta’ sensiela ta’ inċidenti marbutin mal-kostruzzjoni, inkluż il-mewt ta’ Miriam Pace f’darha stess aktar kmieni din is-sena, kif ukoll l-istat li jinsabu fih l-ambjent naturali u l-ispazji urbani tagħna, li kull ma jmur qed jiddeterjoraw b’rata dejjem aktar mgħaggla.


Is-sitt oqsma ewlenin ta’ dan id-dokument ta’ riforma huma l-politiki tal-ippjanar, l-awtoritajiet responsabbli għall-ippjanar u l-ambjent, il-proġetti ta’ skala kbira, ir-regolamentazzjoni tal-industrija tal-kostruzzjoni, it-toroq u t-trasport, u r-rispett lejn il-pajjiż u l-ekosistema tiegħu.


Fost l-għadd ta’ talbiet ewlenin, l-ewwel kapitlu jappella għall-bżonn li tiġi introdotta politika ġdida li tissostitwixxi l-iSPED, b’viżjoni fit-tul sal-2050, u f’konformità mal-Objettivi tal-Iżvilupp Sostenibbli tal-UN. Il-kapitlu li jittratta l-politiki jitlob ukoll protezzjoni aħjar lill-UCAs, b’enfasi fuq il-bżonn li jitneħħew il-lakuni f’diversi politiki (FAR, SPED, il-Politika Rurali) u li tingħata protezzjoni aħjar lil bini li jġorr importanza storika u kulturali.


Fir-rigward tal-awtoritajiet, id-dokument jisħaq favur riforma radikali fil-mod kif jiġu magħżula l-membri tal-board u l-Kummissjoni, billi jiġu introdotti grillings parlamentari għall-membri tagħhom, u jittieħed vot fil-Parlament fuq numru ta’ membri tal-board u l-kummissjoni. Taħt ir-riforma proposta, il-membri għandhom jibdew jinżammu personalment responsabbli għall-aġir tagħhom, speċjalment fir-rigward ta’ ksur ta’ politiki, il-kodiċi ta’ etika tagħhom, kunflitt ta’ interess, influwenza mhux xierqa u mġiba oħra mhux xierqa.


Punt ta’ kunflitt ieħor bejn ir-residenti u l-iżviluppaturi huma l-proġetti ta’ skala kbira. Fost suġġerimenti oħrajn, qed jiġi propost li l-Kunsilli Lokali affettwati minn proġetti maġġuri privati li jaqgħu fil-kategorija ta’ Skeda 1 jingħataw is-setgħa li jimponu kundizzjoni li l-iżvilupp irid jiġi approvat permezz ta’ referendum lokali li jsir fi żmien 30 jum minn meta l-permess jiġi approvat. Id-dokument jirrakkomanda wkoll moratorju fuq proġetti ta’ skala kbira sakemm jidħlu fis-seħħ il-Masterplans nazzjonali u lokali.

Uħud mill-proposti li jispikkaw l-aktar jinsabu fir-raba’ kapitlu, li jirrigwarda r-regolament tal-Industrija tal-Kostruzzjoni. Proposta kruċjali hija l-introduzzjoni ta’ miżura li permezz tagħha jkun jista’ jitħallas l-appoġġ legali, psikoloġiku u loġistiku lil residenti li jkunu sfaw vittmi ta’ inċidenti tal-kostruzzjoni. Dan l-appoġġ jitħallas minn fond iffinanzjat minn miżati mandatorji li jitħallsu mill-iżviluppaturi, sakemm ir-responsabbiltà tiġi stabbilita legalment. Proposti oħra jinkludu limitu fuq in-numru ta’ permessi li jinħarġu fl-istess żmien f’żona jew viċinat partikolari, il-ħolqien ta’ sistema għal ilmenti pubbliċi, li tkun marbuta ma’ sistema ta’ punti penali, sabiex il-kuntratturi jew l-iżviluppaturi li ripetittivament jonqsu milli jħarsu l-liġi jiġu blacklisted pubblikament, u qafas legali li jiġbor r-regolamenti dwar il-bini u l-kostruzzjoni f’Att wieħed. Hemm ukoll dispożizzjonijiet marbuta mal-ħaddiema fil-qasam tal-kostruzzjoni u l-protezzjoni dovuta lilhom, b’mod partikolari meta wieħed iqis is-sitwazzjoni laxka fir-rigward tas-saħħa u s-sigurtà f’din l-industrija partikolari.


Fir-rigward tat-toroq u t-trasport, il-bażi fundamentali hija l-introduzzjoni ta’ sistema tat-trasport pubbliku effiċjenti u bla ħlas, b’rotot oqsor, aħjar u aktar frekwenti, minflok servizz pubbliku li jopera bl-għan li jagħmel profitt. Din it-taqsima tinkludi wkoll inċentivi għall-użu tar-rota u l-ħolqien ta’ korsiji taċ-ċiklisti siguri. Talba oħra hija li tiġi rrevokata s-sistema li permezz tagħha Infrastructure Malta tista’ tasfalta u twessa’ l-pajsaġġi fil-kampanja mingħajr l-ħtieġa li tosserva l-proċess sħiħ tal-ippjanar.


Fis-sitt kapitlu, jiġu indirizzati kwistjonijiet bħall-iskart, ir-riċiklaġġ ta’ materjal tal-kostruzzjoni, ir-riklamazzjoni tal-art, u d-drittijiet għall-enerġija solari, kif ukoll l-kwistjoni taħraq tat-trasferiment ta’ art pubblika biex jiġu aġevolati interessi privati. F’dan ir-rigward, il-Moviment Graffitti qed jitlob li dawn it-trasferimenti ta’ art pubblika jitwaqqfu b’mod immedjat u jappella għall-ħolqien ta’ aktar spazji pubbliċi.


“Dan id-dokument huwa r-riżultat ta’ sena ta’ konsultazzjoni ma’ esperti ewlenin u NGOs,” qal kelliem għall-Moviment Graffitti. “Kellna sena traġika fejn tidħol il-kostruzzjoni u l-kwalità tal-ħajja tagħna qiegħda kull ma jmur tmur għall-agħar sforz sistema tal-ippjanar marida mill-għeruq. L-awtoritajiet ma jistgħux jibqgħu b’idejhom fuq żaqqhom daqslikieku mhu qed jiġri xejn. Barra minn hekk, inħossu li l-eġemonija li l-lobby tan-negozjanti sar għandu fuq il-politika xekklet ir-riformi għal żmien twil biżżejjed.”


“Il-ħsieb tagħna huwa li nippreżentaw dawn il-proposti lill-Prim Ministru, il-Ministru għall-Ambjent u l-Ministru għat-Trasport, bl-għan li ntejbu l-kwalità tal-ħajja ta’ ħafna residenti affettwati mill-kostruzzjoni kontinwa. Nemmnu li r-reazzjoni tagħhom għal dawn il-proposti għandha tiġi interpretata bħala indikazzjoni tar-rieda tagħhom li jtejbu s-sitwazzjoni,” qal il-kelliem.


Riforma fil-Kostruzzjoni u l-Ippjanar f’Malta huwa disponibbli bla ħlas fuq www.movimentgraffitti.org u huwa appoġġjat minn 23 grupp.