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Environmental NGOs Denied Legal Standing To Contest Controversial Mellieħa Woodlands Deal

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A group of environmental NGOs were denied legal standing to contest a controversial deal that handed the woodland areas of Aħrax and Miżieb to the Federazzjoni Kaccaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti.

According to the NGOs, the administrative tribunal concluded that the concerned parties did not qualify as “aggrieved persons” due to them not being notified of the decision and thus dismissed their case.

In a statement issued earlier today, the NGOs announced their plan to appeal the decision.

“The NGOs are concerned that this preliminary decision would effectively mean that no third parties can contest a decision by the Lands Authority in front of the Tribunal for Administrative Review,” it said.

The statement was issued on behalf of The Ramblers’ Association of Malta, Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Moviment Graffitti, Din l-Art Helwa and Birdlife Malta.

The case concerns a controversial deal which gave the FKNK dominion over the woodland areas in October 2020. Environmentalists condemned the deal as a land grab while the hunting lobby claimed it only formalised what has been in practice since the 1980s.

The six NGOs quickly pursued legal action, filing two separate court actions, after they claimed that the Lands Authority had acted in an “arbitrary, intransparent, discriminatory and unreasonable manner”.

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