The Planning Authority has published a revised policy for fuelling stations with ten major changes, including the amount and size of pumps in stations. The policy details that existing stations that have a negative impact on the environment may be considered for relocation.
Thus the PA will not accept applications for new stations or the extension of existing stations that are wholly or partially on ODZ land. The revised policy has the approval of the Environmental Authority.
The PA has made it clear that application for new fuel stations or relocation of station and those in built-up areas b reduced by 33% from a maximum of 3,000 square metres to 1,000 square metres, including ancillary facilities.
The PA’s CEO, architect Martin Saliba, said the new policy followed a consultation process and contains about ten major changes from the 2015 policy. He said permission will only be given to fuel stations that need to be relocated. Extensions to stations that are wholly or partially on ODZ land will not be accepted. In addition relocations will not be considered onto agricultural land.
The revised policy will reintroduce the concept that there will be a buffer zone between fuel stations and places such as schools, hospitals and recreational zones. The policy establishes there will not be new fuel stations unless there is a separating distance of 500 metres from other stations.
The new policy, long awaited by NGOs has the approval of the Environmental and Resources Authority whose CEO, architect Michelle Piccinino said the Authority is satisfied that previous considerations have been considered and the final policy is a balanced one.
She said there is a safeguard on the relocation of fuel stations that are a problem to urban environment and at the same time there are also safeguards for the natural environment and ODZ areas.
Environment Minister, Aaron Farrugia, said this is an important development that paves the way for more intelligent planning. He said this has fulfilled his promise that a revision of fuel stations will take place within his first 100 days in the Ministry and has been agreed by the Planning Authority and the Environmental Authority.
Minister Farrugia said it is now expected the country moves further forward on the use of electric-powered vehicles.