Though the country may be going through one of its tumultuous periods in recent history, there is at least one thing we can celebrate and be proud of this week.
Dwejra, after all, will be kept dark.
Last week, the Court of Appeals revoked a permit for an extension of a restaurant in Dwejra, safekeeping the natural inhabitants and ecosystem of the Dark Sky Heritage Area.
The permit filed was for an extension of the restaurant’s seating capacity as well as permission to increase the amount of lighting in the area. The proposed development would have had an adverse impact in an important area, particularly to the neighbouring wildlife and ecosystem – especially to the population of Scopoli’s Shearwater and Yelkouan Shearwater.
It was originally rejected by the Planning Authority but overturned by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal.
Following this, the ERA, BirdLife Malta, the University of Malta’s Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy (ISSA) and 15 NGOs banded together to raise funds and lodge their own appeal against the tribunal’s decision…
… and last week, they won.
Thanks to the joint efforts of these organisations, the protected area will continue to be protected after the Court of Appeals revoked the permit to extend the Azure Window Restaurant.
“The court appeal on Dwejra has been won,” BirdLife announced on Thursday. “Dwejra is safe from the threat of further development. In today’s final hearing of the case concerning the proposed extension of a restaurant at Dwejra, the court has upheld our arguments against the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal’s decision to grant the permit, which means the permit is being revoked!”
This decision marks a huge victory, not only for our protected areas, but also for all those who came together to ensure that these areas remain that way.