€60,000 investment in two Nature 2000 sites

The Government and Birdlife Malta have reached an agreement whereby the Government is investing € 60,000 to embellish two Natura 2000 sites managed by Birdlife – these are the Ghadira Nature Reserve and the Simar Reserve in Xemxija. At a news conference, Minister Aaron Farrugia said that the Government was responding to the call of non-governmental organisations such as Birdlife, who are asking for more public spaces, so much so that he indicated that in the coming weeks he would be announcing new initiatives in this regard.

In virtue of an agreement reached between the Government and Birdlife Malta, works will be carried out on the two Natura 2000 sites managed by Birdlife – the Ghadira Nature Reserve and the Simar Reserve in Xemxija, to protect the natural heritage of these two sites. The Government will invest € 60,000 in these two sites which will include the establishment of a research laboratory in Simar, the use of new products and machinery for planting trees, the installation of security cameras and new sanitary facilities in the Lake reserve.

The Minister for the Environment Aaron Farrugia explained that this work will be helping to encourage the growth and livelihood of protected species such as the bustard and the frog. He said the Ghadira and Simar nature reserves were considered bird sanctuaries and are also classified as special conservation areas of international importance.

” We are currently working with the ERA on a new biodiversity plan in the country that will take us from 2022 to 2030. Today I asked to promote facilities that our children and our students use, which are also facilities that Maltese and Gozitan families visit. ”

The Chief Executive of the Environment and Resources Authority, Architect Michelle Piccinino, said the role of the ERA in these sites was to protect the environment. She said children were being cut off from the natural environment and explained why it was important to invest in these sites.

Chief Executive of Birdlife Malta, Mark Sultana, said that a few weeks ago the Government gave land in Miżieb and Ahrax in Mellieħa to 300 hunters and he was not convinced that this activity ought to have taken place. TVM asked Mark Sultana what led him to change his mind.

” What happened weeks ago did not go down well with us and with a large number of people because there were large plots of land given to 300 hunters, but I changed my mind because I wanted to take this opportunity to meet with the media and also to show my respect to the Minister of the Environment who is working hard for the environment of Malta. ”

Apropos of this, TVM asked Minister Farrugia how he has responded to the call made by non-governmental organizations such as Birdlife and other people, are asking for more public spaces.

” The people expect the Government to give them more open green spaces and I have taken note of this and in the coming weeks I will announce how I will be acting on that their pleas… ”

Natura 2000 sites consist of 34 sites covering more than 13% of the Maltese Islands’ land and account for about 44 square kilometres – while Natura 2000 marine sites cover 35.5% of Maltese waters.