With tarmac quickly replacing trees and endless development eating up in agricultural land, a new national bird has emerged. And with over 33,000 permits for cranes and other lifting equipment issued in 2019, it’s easy to see why.
Parliamentary figures that were tabled by Local Government Minister José Herrera after a parliamentary question from MP Marthese Portelli, revealed that in one single year, 33,612 permits for cranes and other lifting equipment like cherry pickers were issued by Malta’s local councils.
Unsurprisingly, areas that experience rampant development like St Paul’s Bay (6,595), Birkirkara (5,467), and Sliema (3,400) top the list.
The figures present an alarming picture of the state of overdevelopment in the country. However, it fails to paint the full picture, with renegade contractors and developers often forgoing permits all together when setting up their cranes or heavy lifters.
It should be of no surprise. Fines for using a crane without a permit are €46.59. That’s less than what a person would get for throwing a cigarette butt on the ground.
Meanwhile, the recently uncovered extra-day racket within Malta’s police force has revealed that officers would also collect ‘protection money’ from construction firms disobeying rules and regulations.