The Nationalist Party has pledged to buy back old houses as well as abandoned buildings in Malta’s villages in order to give them back to the people, should it be elected to government.
During a press conference this morning, the party’s environment spokesperson Robert Cutajar said the PN was conscious of the need for environmental concerns to be taken seriously.
“The time for empty words and billboards is over. We want to present the nation with concrete proposals and to work for the common good and for a better quality of life for people,” Cutajar said.
Should the PN win the next election, it will embark on a process of identifying and buying back sites across the country, for them to be used by the public.
Cutajar said the PN was asking the public to get in touch and point out spaces that could potentially be converted into green areas.
“We often hear, especially on social media, about sites where construction would have started but had to stop for whatever reason, only for them to end up abandoned,” Cutajar said.
“We will be looking to give local councils new powers for them to ensure that responsibility is taken for these sites and not allow them to become dumps.”
The PN, he said, would also consider buying back some of these sites, which will then be converted to green public spaces.
With people’s discontent with the rampant construction and environmental degradation on the island increasing, the PN has launched a new working group called PN Greens, in the hope of converting this sentiment into votes.
The party is also proposing the setting up of a national fund, through which it will buy back private properties of historical value, especially those located in village centres.
The idea here is to safeguard these properties from development, and for them to serve the general public rather than just their owners.
“This will be aimed at buildings, especially those with a big garden, which can be used to offer services to the community,” MZPN president Gabriel Micallef said. “They could be used as remote working hubs, as centres for government services or for use by NGOs working within the community.”
Both Micallef and Cutajar stressed that the government would look into buying back land at Gozo’s Ħondoq ir-Rummien in order to prevent it from being developed into a marina.
The party is also pledging to strengthen people’s right of access to different parts of the Maltese countryside as well as coastal zones by developing a charter about one’s rights and obligations when using the countryside.
A PN government would increase penalties for those caught littering as well as set up signage around the countryside as well as a mobile app indicating hiking routes and other publicly accessible areas.
Another proposal is for the introduction of a “tree map” and green score for each locality in a bid to further incentivize the planting of more trees, as well as the pedestrianisation of different areas around the island.
Cutajar acknowledged that the government had recently set up a pilot project in this regard, noting that the initiative was a positive one and that the PN would be looking to build on it.
The PN is also pledging measures to help the farming community as well as additional measures aimed at promoting urban greening and urban farming.
What do you make of the PN’s proposals?