MEPA enforcement operation in Ta’ Baldu and Wied Hazrun
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The enforcement directorate within MEPA today started a comprehensive direct action operation to remove a number of illegally built storage rooms, garages, residences, swimming pools as well as dumping and reclamation in the Ta’Baldu and Wied Hazrun area, limits of Rabat and Dingli.
The operation kicked off early today, on the valley-side of Wied Hazrun limits of Dingli, when MEPA enforcement personnel started to demolish a number of rooms which had been illegally constructed over two old rural rooms. The operation also included the demolition of a large garage, which was built over a reservoir and a further 3 rooms that were illegally built alongside it.
As of last year, the Authority started working on a holistic exercise to tackle illegal cases in the Ta’ Baldu and Wied Hazrun area. From the 35 enforcement cases, the directorate closed off 10 cases. Of the remaining 25 active case, the directorate will be taking direct action against 9 enforcement cases given that the remaining 16 are either being appealed against by the contravenor or have a pending application trying to sanction the illegality. In such cases the law prevents the Authority from carrying out any action.
Following today actions, the Authority has already noticed some movement from other contravenors in the vicinity of this site, who are opting for the cheaper solution and have started removing their illegalities. In the coming days, the Authority will continue carrying out direct action operations within this area where the contravenor has ignored MEPA’s instructions.
Last week, the Authority was served with two warrants of prohibitory injunction, covering cases in this area, to create a further obstacle for MEPA not to carry out any direct action. Last May, the Authority declared the area around Ta’ Baldu and Wied Hazrun as a Tree Protected Area. The area supports one of the four forest remnants of the Maltese islands, based on a small number of holm oak trees (ballut) and other important species, including the very rare evergreen rose (girlanda tal-wied), the hoary rock-rose (cistu roza) and a number of fungi known from the area, including the rare stinkhorn (faqqiegh). The site which is a Natura 2000 site was scheduled in 1996 as an area of ecological importance and is protected as a nature reserve and a special area of conservation of international importance. Today’s operation was carried out with the assistance of the Malta Police Force.