‘Vote for candidates who stand up for the common good,’ says church commission

Miguela Xuereb

The Interdiocesan Commission for the Environment called on voters to vote wisely so that respect for the common good is maintained in the next legislature.

In a statement ahead of next week’s general election, he said “parliament needs people of integrity who can stand their ground and can challenge their own party to defend the common good”.

These people, the commission added, “must belong to both the government and the opposition in parliament”.

The Church’s environment commission has also urged the next government to reduce Malta’s dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power sources.

In a statement, the church commission said “Russia’s tragic and senseless invasion of Ukraine” has also brought the fundamental environmental issue of energy sources to the fore.

The commission’s pre-election statement also noted that the degradation of the local natural and urban environment is not necessarily due to lack of funds but to ill-advised plans and policies.

“What is needed to save the environment are laws, plans and policies that require no investment but are, crucially, based on non-confrontational advice to authorities and sincere defense of the common good. by the latter,” the commission said.

Presenting a number of proposals, the committee urged the new administration to be elected next week to:

  • Revise it Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) and local plans. Local plans should be the final arbiter of height limits for each street in the Maltese Islands. It is totally unacceptable for a policy network to undermine what is displayed and stated in the local plan.
  • Publish the revision of the Rural Policy and Design Guidelines 2014whose public consultation closed in August 2020. This revision has taken the dust, thus allowing more buildings to be erected outside ZACs even if, officially, ZACs have not been extended.
  • Revise it Development Control Design Policy, Guidelines and Standards 2015 which wreaks havoc on the ridges of Gozo.
  • Have the courage to abandon any electoral promise if such a promise, after the completion of the necessary studies, would lead to the erosion of the common good.
  • Take action to ensure that farmland in the Maltese Islands receives a higher protection status than it currently enjoys.
  • Make sure that when public consultation on plans and policies is carried out, it is not bogus consultation aimed at catering to narrow interests.
  • Introduce a bill to parliament that seeks to partially fund political parties from the state and that guarantees parliamentarians a decent salary that reduces their dependence on businessmen and entrepreneurs for donations.

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Jerry B. Hatch