A creative scheme by the Planning Authority to incentivise people to green their residence facades ended up garnering a pretty lukewarm response.
The Planning Authority said it received over 140 applications by the time the deadline expired a few days ago, hailing it as a “positive response”.
However, with recent statistics showing that 151,260 people in Malta are homeowners, the incentive will only cover around 0.09% of residences in the country.
And it was an extremely attractive incentive too, with the PA committing itself to fully refunding people’s bills when they introduce green facades and walls to their homes, as well as the green retrofitting of front gardens.
The scheme pledged to refund costs for all eligible works, including labour and equipment costs, consultancy fees and the drafting of a maintenance plan, capped at €10,000 per property.
It was aimed at private residences, living within residential areas that are not within Urban Conservation Areas or villa/bungalow areas. However, shops and offices with existing front gardens within these areas may benefit from the scheme.
Reimbursement is set to take place over a five-year period, with 60% returned upon completion of works and the rest after the first, third and fifth year after completion.
Although an initial budget of €2 million was allocated to the scheme, the PA will only end up spending €1.2 million.
The PA said the scheme had a “positive” response and was most popular with homeowners in Mosta (12), Naxxar (8) and Birkirkara (7).
“This scheme was a first of its kind. Unlike grey infrastructure, which generally serves one purpose, green infrastructure performs multiple functions and provides multiple benefits not only to the individual but to the wider community,” the PA’s executive council chairperson Martin Saliba said.
“Our commitment is to keep investing in schemes, projects and initiatives which render a sustainable ecology, improve the health of the community and have a vision for long-term success at their core.”
Meanwhile, Environment and Planning Minister Aaron Farrugia said the first edition of the scheme was “a great success”.