During three public meetings held today the 18th of February 2022, the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) Board has approved the variation of the IPPC permit for the Delimara PowerStation (IP 0002/21), located at Delimara, proposals regarding an application for a multi-storey mixed-use development in St Julians [EA 00046/18 (PA 02470/16 & PA 06097/20)], and the second phase of redevelopment of the Ramla Bay Hotel [PA 02943/19 (EA 00028/19)].

Regarding IP 0002/21:

The application regards the variation of the IPPC permit for the Delimara PowerStation (IP 0002/21). The application process included consultation with a number of statutory consultees as well as a public consultation as required by the IPPC Regulations.

The variation and renewal of the IPPC permit covers a number of variations including but not limited to the transfer of fuel to third parties and the addition of emission points to air from medium combustion plants. The installation has been covered by an IPPC permit since 2010.

The permit takes into account the holistic environmental performance of the installation and ascertains that the operations are undertaken in line with Best Available Techniques that are available for such operations. Furthermore, the permit takes into consideration all the aspects of the operations including emissions to air, discharges, management of waste, monitoring of operations as well as monitoring of pollutants prior to release into the environment.

Regarding EA 00046/18 (PA 02470/16 & PA 06097/20):

The proposal regards an application for a multi-storey mixed-use development in St Julians. In 2018, ERA had requested an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in line with the EIA Regulations (S.L. 549.46). The EIA Report on which the Directorate based its assessment was submitted to ERA on 13 October 2021. The Directorate’s assessment took into account the conclusions of the EIA Report, as well as the comments received from the public concerned following a 30-day public consultation.

The impacts and risks identified in the EIA Report during the construction phases were considered to be of low adverse significance, and as long as works adhere to the Environmental Management Construction Site Regulations (S.L. 552.09), the identified environmental impacts would be mitigated further. From a Waste management perspective there was a requirement for the submission of a waste management plan for eventual review by ERA.

Impacts and risks associated with the operational phase were also considered to be of low adverse significance, apart from impacts on the surrounding areas from shading and in terms of visual amenity due to the presence of the tall building affecting both short- and long-distance views, which are of higher adverse significance. Such impacts are inherently linked to the nature of the development, being a high-rise tower, a known concern from the outset.

Other impacts, of minor significance, assessed to occur during operations of the development, mainly relate to emissions from additional traffic generation and changes to the wind microclimate surrounding the proposed building, which may affect the pedestrian comfort at the surrounding public spaces.

Mitigation measures include the implementation of a Green Travel Plan, aimed at reducing traffic generation, and the carrying out of a wind study for the fine-tuning of the final design of the proposed tower, to avoid deterioration of the wind microclimate.

In the light of the findings of the assessment, the Directorate did not object to the proposal whilst noting that the afore-mentioned aspects in terms of the Green Travel Plan, microclimate and waste management need to be considered as reserved matters. This conclusion was made on the understanding that stringent mitigation measures and pre-emptive safeguards will be implemented throughout both the construction and operation of the proposed development.

The Final Assessment was referred to the ERA Board for a decision in public in line with the EIA Regulations (S.L. 549.46). The decision taken by the ERA Board on 18th February 2022 was that the Final Assessment put forward was being agreed to and a vote in favour was taken.

Regarding EA 00028/19 (PA 02943/19)

The proposal in caption is the second phase of redevelopment of the Ramla Bay Hotel at Marfa and follows an earlier partial redevelopment of the seaward part of the resort.

This proposal (Phase 2) has been assessed by ERA through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process in line with the EIA Regulations (S.L. 549.46). The development was also subject to an Appropriate Assessment (AA) in accordance with the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Regulations (S.L. 549.44).

The Directorate’s assessment took into account the conclusions of the EIA and AA Reports, as well as the comments received from the public concerned following a 30-day public consultation. After its assessment of the proposal, also taking into account the consultants’ evaluation, the Directorate did not object to this proposal, but noted that there are outstanding considerations regarding impacts on landscape and visual amenity which need to be addressed.

In view of the above considerations, the Directorate recommended that:

  1. Improved attention is given to minimisation of dominance of the building, especially as perceived from panoramic viewpoints (including the Ċirkewwa main road i.e., viewpoint 8, where the impact is considered more than minor adverse).
  2. The Alang Alang building located on the shore is reduced in height.
  3. Development is to be contained within the already committed site boundary, avoiding/removing structures/encroachment onto adjacent rural land; and
  4. The area east of the hotel (including garigue and rocky coast) is to be restored. In this regard, the ERA is requesting a Restoration Method Statement (RMS).

This conclusion was made on the understanding that stringent mitigation measures and pre-emptive safeguards will be implemented throughout both construction and operation of the proposed development. Specifically, proposed mitigation measures include the reuse of soil in the landscaping; reuse of excavated rock as general fill on-site; hard surfaced areas to be designed with permeable surfaces, to facilitate water infiltration and sustainable drainage and the implementation of a lighting plan. In this regard, a number of conditions are being recommended for inclusion in the development permit.

The Final Assessment by the Directorate was referred to the ERA Board for a decision in public in line with the EIA Regulations (S.L. 549.46). The decision taken by the ERA Board on 18th February 2022 was that the Final Assessment put forward by the Directorate was being agreed to and a vote in favour was taken.

18 February 2022