Last Updated on Sunday, 26 September, 2021 at 4:29 pm by Andre Camilleri
Ambjent Malta (AM) will be conducting interventions to restore the landmark structure of the Vaulted Grotto in Buskett.
This was announced by Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia who said that this landmark, left to us by the Grandmasters of the Order of Saint John, has regretfully undergone structural damages. For this reason, AM will be investing €323,000 to restore it.
This intervention is expected to be conducted by early next year.
The minister explained that the objective of the interventions is to consolidate and preserve the structure whilst repairing any damage sustained throughout the years. He said that the importance of regeneration and restoration projects, particularly within our natural areas, is essential in order to preserve and protect our environmental heritage, for current and future generations.
The elements of the Grotto will be mapped electronically to retain the structure’s feature elements.
The pivotal aspects of the consolidation include:
- the exposure of the vault right above the grotto and measures to avoid further deterioration of the vault
- structural pinning of vertical elements to enhance the structure’s stability.
Ancillary works include restoration of masonry fabric and Grotto fountain restoration works.
Buskett has Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA) status, popular with both Maltese and foreigners, recording a high footfall, particularly in winter.
Buskett, and the area around it, is also important as a concentration point for birds of prey, many of which are of international importance. This has allowed the area to receive designation both as an SAC and an SPA. The area also hosts a cave, l-Għar tal-Inkwiżitur. 61% of the SAC, or 149 Ha, consists of agricultural land, most of which is irrigated.