While efforts for Malta to make use of more renewable energy are commendable, this should not come at the expense of fertile agricultural land, the Nationalist Party has said.
Several applications have recently been submitted for the construction of solar farms on agricultural land, despite the fact that Malta’s solar farm policy precludes them from being installed on agricultural land.
In some cases, solar farms have been proposed atop greenhouses, though agriculture experts have questioned the feasibility of this, given that the lack of light penetrating the greenhouse’s roof would lead to poor growth of any crops inside.
Addressing a press conference at the site of one such proposed development in Mġarr, the PN said that increasing energy generated through renewable means could not be used as an excuse for the destruction of arable land.
The solar farm will take up 43,000 sqm of arable land if approved.
The press conference was addressed by Janice Chetcuti, the coordinator of the PN’s new environment working group PN Greens, environment spokesperson Robert Cutajar and agriculture spokesperson Edwin Vassallo.
“Today we are talking about this proposed solar farm but what we are saying applied to all other solar farms being proposed,” they said. “We know of other projects that have been applied for in Manikata, Mellieħa and Burmarrad among others.”
“The Nationalist Party is in favour of renewable energy, but we must ensure that any such development is in harmony with the Maltese countryside and the use of agricultural land.”
The PN accused the government of having failed when it comes to reaching its environmental targets. “It is for this reason that the Nationalist Party is being proactive and putting forward its proposals to aid in the protection and safeguarding of the country’s environment and biodiversity.”
Agricultural land, it said, should continue to be protected and used to supply the nation with fresh food, not electricity, the PN said.
Earlier today Lovin Malta reported that yet another solar farm application had been submitted to the Planning Authority, this time in the limits of Burmarrad.
The proposed plans would take up 6,051 sqm of land overlooking Triq Burmarrad and Triq is-Sardin in St. Pauls Bay.
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