The Environment and Planning Authority MEPA has published draft management plans for 22 Natura 2000 sites which are protected by European laws. The plans were drafted after various studies and scientific evaluations as part of a €1.3 million project co-financed by European funds.
In Malta there are 34 natural zones protected by European laws. MEPA published the drafted plans for the management of 22 of the land sites as part of the €1.3 million project.
Management of plans of Natura 2000 sites is obligatory under European laws with the aim of clearly identifying the improvement of managing these zones and what activities should be held in these sites.
Parliamentary Secretary Michael Falzon said the drafted plans are open for a six-week public consultation with details published on the natura2000malta.com.mt site.
The sites are: rural areas in Pembroke, Għadira, ir-Ramla l-Ħamra, Simar, Salini, Dwejra area in Gozo, Xlendi, Ramla tat-Torri u tal-Madonna area, Wied il-Miżieb, Comino, Kemmunett, Haġriet ta’ bejn Kmiemen, Buskett and Girgenti, Imġiebah and Tal-Miġnuna, Magħluq tal-Baħar in Marsaskala, the cliffs between Ċirkewwa to Mixquqa bay, Għajn Tuffieħa to ix-Xaqqa leading to Bengħisa Point, Għar Ibburdan, Il-Qortin tal-Magun and il-Qortin il-Kbir, Ta’ Ċenċ, il-Ballut tal-Wardija and Marsaxlokk.
The Natura 2000 zones cover 13% of all the land in Malta and Gozo. MEPA’s environment protection unit manager, Darren Stevens, said the plans safeguard the natural environment but this does not mean that nothing can be done in the zones.
MEPA said that, when implemented, the plans can be used by government’s entities or environmental organisations to apply for projects with European funds, particularly under Life+. It is not excluded that in the future certain zones can be operated by organisations or other entities as is being done in such zones as Simar, Wied Għollieqa and Għajn Tuffieħa.