The Environmental Impact Assessment for the Malta Metro has not even been done yet and will only come after the first period of public consultation.
Earlier this morning, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Ian Borg announced the published government-commissioned studies into the proposed metro.
The EIA report holds great significance in establishing the environmental impacts to be expected and is also used as the main tool to optimise the sustainability of the solution.
On the official Metro Malta website, the next step in this project is outlined as a set of technical studies including economic, geological, and environmental impact studies.
“Before consent is granted for the project, an Environmental Impact Assessment is to be carried out in accordance with the European Union’s EIA regulations,” the publicised studies read.
The Assessment would explore a multitude of environmental impacts that will likely result from the proposed development, and describe mitigation measures that would be required.
“Such impacts include impacts on buildings with heritage value that are affected and mitigation of these, and impacts of the construction phase including the impacts of tunnelling and the removal of any contaminated land.”
Apart from that, the studies outline the measures in place for land appropriation, saying that if an agreement is not reached, the President and the Commissioner for Land may acquire any land they might need given that compensation is paid.
The proposed metro will consist of three lines over 25 stations around Malta. Estimated to cost around €6.2 billion and take between fifteen to 20 years to build, the proposed first phase could be complete within five to eight years.
Tunnels will have to be dug across the most urbanised areas of the country and, for the metro to serve its purpose, stations will have to be built smack bang in the centre of busy towns. This raises concerns over the environmental impact and feasibility of the project.
The government has yet to take a position in favour or against the proposed metro as it wants the public to hold a mature debate about it first.
What do you make of this?