After months of uncertainty over the proposed miniature airstrip in Wied Żnuber, shocking revelations have come to light, including the relocation of the plan to a 44,000 square meter site.
This is due to a freedom of information request submitted by Times of Malta, which led to the secret agreement document being obtained.
Initial plans for the airstrip called for a total of 12,300m² to be occupied, but that has now changed to the huge amount of 44,000m², which would be the equivalent of six and a half football pitches.
The contract also specifies that the site borders on a Natura 2000 site, where such development is supposedly not permitted.
According to Malta’s planning policies, the development of an airstrip is not feasible in such an area. Therefore, if done, it would be an illegal development that goes against the same policies approved by the government.
The relocation would have been necessary due to the closure of the Ħal Far Model Flying Association base to areas undergoing industrial development.
The plans for the airstrip were announced during the signing of an agreement between the government agency INDIS and an association of aircraft models.
The project was planned in secret and escaped public consultation but is expected to have major environmental and social impacts.
The proposed site being a garigue would also require extensive landfills to accommodate a long tarmac strip and a pavilion. The loud and incessant noise from the remote control model airplanes would greatly increase the light and noise pollution in the area and destroy the serenity of the surrounding valley and cliffs.
The site is also home to a number of historical remains including a dolmen, a military shelter, ancient water channels and prehistoric vessels used in funerary rites.
Moviment Graffitti also organizes a cultural nature walk at the Wied Żnuber site in Birżebbuġa, with the meeting point located next to the Bengħajsa Church in Birżebbuġa.
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