BUDGET 2021: Importation of single-use plastic to be banned from 1 January; sale of all single-use products banned in 2022

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  • Five ‘Eco-intermodal Hubs’ to be installed
  • €1.5 million to be allocated to vehicle scrapping schemes 
  • The infrastructure related to bottle return scheme to be put in place

Shona Berger

The importation of single-use plastics will be banned from 1 January and the sale of all single-use plastic products will be banned in 2022.

The revision of the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) and work on the National Environmental Strategy (NSE) will continue throughout next year.

The Low Carbon Development Strategy, aimed at reducing emissions, will be finalised by the end of this year.

There will be an educational campaign on climate change and its consequences, and on how each and every one of us can do our part.

The Malta Stock Exchange will be issuing Green Bonds that can be used to finance projects that promote renewable energy and reduce emissions.

The new Material Recovery Facility, which will optimise recycling, and a facility that will produce compost for farmers will be built. A new plant will replace the facility in Marsa where clinical and animal waste is treated. The Waste-to-Energy facility will also be developed. A new Waste Management Plan will be drawn up by the end of this year.

The infrastructure related to the bottle return scheme will be put in place, including the actual container return machines.

A new air quality monitoring station will be set up in Xemxija and a plan on improving air quality in the country will be drawn up.

Work on the drafting of the National Biodiversity Strategy will continue.

Work on the Ta’ Qali National Park extension – the largest ever environmental project in Malta – will also continue.

There will be more urban greening projects, including in squares and open spaces.

There will also be schemes for Green Walls on the facades of private residences and shops, as well as Grey-to-Green projects.

Efforts will be made to increase trees in urban areas and to launch new afforestation projects.

A new vehicle emissions testing system will be introduced in January, but there will be no increases in the prices of licences. To the contrary, many consumers will see their licence fees decreased. The government in fact is expected to pocket €3 million less than last year from vehicle licences.

A number of schemes which incentivize renewable energy will remain in place. These include the installation of solar photovoltaic panels; heat pump water heaters; solar water heaters and renewable storage batteries. In addition, a feed-in-tariff will continue to be established for electricity generated by solar photovoltaic installations.

A pilot project will be launched in a public building in order to demonstrate in a practical way the benefits of this technology where batteries are used for energy renewable storage.

‘Eco-Intermodal Hubs’ in strategic locations around Malta

The government will also install five ‘Eco-Intermodal Hubs’ in strategic locations around the Maltese islands, where the public will be given access to all information on means of transport, rental of e-scooters and e-bikes. One can also charge mobile phones and use WIFI.

With regard to electric vehicles, the installation of a mixture of 130 “medium-fast” and “fast-charging pillars” will be continued and available to the general public.

The government will conduct a study to change from fuel-powered cars to electric in the public service.

Vehicle scrapping scheme to vary depending on the emissions of the new vehicle

€1.5 million are to be allocated to vehicle scrapping schemes.

Schemes in place for scrapping vehicles that have been in circulation for more than a decade, and which are replaced by less polluting vehicles, will be awarded a grant that varies according to the level and category of the vehicle.

The highest grant amounts to €7,000.

The measures related to the purchase of electric vehicles will be extended for another year as these measures are intended to further increase the number of less polluting vehicles.

In addition, the measures of non-registration tax and exemption from the payment of the annual road licence will be extended for a period of five years from the date of first registration, to electric vehicles and electric vehicles plug-in.

Other schemes

Schemes where a grant equivalent to a full VAT refund is granted on bicycles and electronic bicycles will be extended once again. This also applies to the scheme that incentivizes the purchase of motorcycles, scooters and bicycles assisted by an electric motor for a maximum of €400.

For those who change their vehicle to run on gas instead of petrol, this grant will now rise to €400, but to be eligible, the reduction of the CO2 emissions of the said vehicle must be reduced by 25%.

This scheme will also be extended to all passenger and freight transport vehicles. The grant will amount to a maximum of €800.

As for the annual circulation licence for motorcycles with a cubic capacity between 125cc and 250cc, it will be reduced from €65 to €25.

In addition, vehicles, including motorcycles which are already registered with the Transport Authority will be able to apply for a licence used on weekends and public holidays only. This will benefit car owners from a reduction of 35% of the annual circulation licence fee.

Grant to make new taxis wheelchair accessible

There will be a budget allocated to a number of new taxis who will be awarded a grant of €10,000 upon registration of a new wheelchair accessible taxi vehicle (WAT).

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