ERA gives thumbs up to Manoel Island development plan

Last Updated on Saturday, 5 June, 2021 at 12:26 pm by Andre Camilleri

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has given its thumbs up for plans to develop Manoel Island, after assessing the environmental impacts of construction on the island.

In a statement released on Saturday, the regulator said that action needs to be taken around the island for marine works to be phased correctly, silt curtains to be used and barring access to vessels and barges from passing through a nearby area which could damage valued Maltese top shell.

Water and sediment quality will also be monitored closely during all phases of the development.

Other points of concern relate to impacts on land use, landscape character and visual amenity, largely due to the proposed construction of residential clusters on the western side of the island.

The development could also cause impacts on cultural heritage features, both terrestrial and underwater, due to the potential risk of removal or disturbance to unknown heritage features, and also due to vibrations generated during excavation works.

Increased emissions of particulate matter from vehicular traffic during operations are expected to increase in the area of the Gżira promenade. This would require the implementation of a green travel plan.

This is the second environmental impact assessment (EIA) of Manoel Island, after the first assessment was annulled by third parties before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT).

The second EIA was resubmitted to ERA on the 15th February 2021, and took into account the conclusions of the EIA Report and the comments received from the public concerned, following a 30-day public consultation and public hearing.

“ERA does not object to the proposal from an environment point of view”, the statement reads.

The island is set to be developed in association with development consortium Midi, which will see the island transformed for residential and commercial use.

Around 55,000 square metres of the land are set to be taken up by new buildings, while 175,000 square metres will be used as open spaces accessible to the public.

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