The Nationalist Party has called for the resignation of Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) chairperson Victor Axiaq after he voted in favour of the Central Link project.
“His job is to safeguard environmental interests, but not only did he keep silent throughout the meeting but he even voted in favour of this destruction,” MP Jason Azzopardi said in a statement published by the PN.
“The ERA chairman has shown that he toes the government’s line, rendering his position untenable.”
“Prof. Victor Axiaq had a unique opportunity to prove that he and the authority are leads are truly independent from the government and contractor. He had a unique opportunity to challenge the government to reveal its long-term vision to address the problem of air pollution but he chose to remain silent.”
The Central Link road upgrade project between Attard and Rabat will require the chopping down of 549 trees and the transplantation of a further 237.
ERA regulations state that at least one tree must be planted for each uprooted unprotected tree, five for each protected tree in some parts of Schedule I and ten for each in the other parts.
This would technically require the planting of 1,649 trees at the Central Link project but, due to design and spacing considerations, Infrastructure Malta has decided to plant only 766 new trees.
It will compensate for this shortfall in the number of trees by paying ERA €500 for every tree not planted, which means that ERA stands to gain a grand total of €441,500.