Chris Fearne has pledged to put the environment at the top of his agenda if elected Prime Minister, stating it deserves to be given the utmost priority.
Fearne said he will launch a plan to introduce green spaces in every Maltese town and village, arguing that people have a right to unwind in their home towns.
“Our ancestors had thought of this when they built our villages with their own squares and communal spaces,” he said. “Unfortunately, in recent years, thanks to projects that were more speculative than communal, this principle wasn’t always kept. I will announce a plan to re-introduce this concept in our villages, possibly even with government intervention.”
He also said the government should protect the countryside, improve air quality, prioritise the fight against climate change and restore the island’s cultural heritage.
However, he also confirmed he is in favour of the proposed tunnel linking Malta and Gozo, arguing that the project will have obvious benefits to the entire economy.
Critics have warned that the tunnel could have serious repercussions on the environment and incentivise the over-development of Gozo. Asked how he can give the environment the utmost priority while at the same time endorsing the tunnel, Fearne referred to his earlier statement on the tunnel – which is that it will reap economic benefits for the entire country.
Fearne listed the environment as one of his ten policy priorities if elected Prime Minister next month. The other priorities are:
1. Safeguarding the rule of law, including the immediate announcement of a national conference to discuss the topic and propose reforms, which will form the base of a wider constitutional reform.
2. Maintaining the economic model endorsed by Joseph Muscat, but with more transparency, meritocracy and fairness when giving out contracts.
3. Fully endorsing the principle of equal pay for equal work, particularly with regards employees of private contractors getting paid less than their peers employed by the government.
4. Upgrade the country’s infrastructure to cater for the growth in its population.
5. A detailed strategy to tackle shortcomings with regards social housing.
6. Promoting clean transport and paving the way for an eventual mass transport system
7. Improving Malta’s international reputation through regular dialogue with European bodies and institutions
8. Improving the general quality of life, through initiatives such as lifelong learning and road safety.
9. Reforms within the Labour Party to ensure that it operates separately from the government and provides its own policy input.