Nature Trust – FEE Malta applauds the efforts done by the Church in Malta to increase
awareness about the importance of the protection of trees and the need to revamp current legislation to protect those trees which have no protection status. The idea of incorporating trees into the aesthetics of the landscape and their consequential protection is to be
commended and legislated. This comes at a time when the Church is joining all the Christians around the world to celebrate the Season of Creation (1st September to 4th October).
NT-FEE Malta is noting that the ongoing onslaught on trees along roads is short-sighted and short-term, as widening a road section would still lead to bottlenecks elsewhere. Improved
public transport and better incentives for students, frequent commuters and cyclists is the way forward. Where trees have to be removed adequate compensation must be sought in the form of the planting of new indigenous trees, if possible within the same locality. To this end, NT-FEE Malta asks whether long term plans exist to ensure that an adequate supply of local indigenous stock exists. Importing indigenous trees would lead to genetic pollution of
the local stock and the high risk of pest infestations from imports as happened in the past, despite the protective measures in place.
On this occasion of Interfaith Celebration of Creation, NT-FEE Malta would like to see the authorities concerned show a committed and wider appreciation and protection of local biodiversity. In particular, it urges the Environment and Resources Authority to take into account protected fauna when issuing the development permit conditions for applications on abandoned fields, especially those found within scheme. Most often such areas are the
last enclave for protected species such as hedgehogs, shrews, snakes, chameleons and bats.
ERA must ensure that such species be safeguarded through a well-planned relocation exercise which must be borne by the developer of the site. On many occasions, Nature Trust has been receiving calls reporting animals fleeing or being killed during excavation works. It is useless to have laws protecting local biodiversity when these are being
flagrantly ignored by the authorities.