The ERA Board has unanimously approved the Final Assessment for the proposed City Centre multi-use development bearing PA 03807/17 in accordance with all the mitigation measures present within the Environment Impact Assessment and conditions recommended.

As part of the development permit process for the City Centre multi-use development, including excavation of the former ITS, the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) had requested an Environmental Planning Statement (EPS) in accordance with the former Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations. Furthermore, ERA had also requested Appropriate Assessments (AA) as per the Flora, Fauna, and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations since the said development is located within a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) of International Importance of Żona fil‐Baħar fil‐Grigal ta’ Malta (MT0000105) and L-Inħawi ta’ Pembroke (MT0000002).

The Authority had provided its Assessment and Recommendations along with the development conditions in May 2018 on the original proposal.

In 2020, a revised version of the development was submitted by the project proponents and the ERA requested a statement from the EIA Coordinator who carried out the EIA Report for the previous development proposal to confirm or otherwise whether the proposed material changes vis-à-vis the downscaling of the project are likely to change any of the findings and conclusions of the EIA carried out for the earlier version of the proposal. A similar statement was requested for the AA undertaken for the same project. The statements and information presented were assessed by the Authority’s Directorate. The assessment takes into account the conclusions of the EIA consultants’ updated evaluation of the proposal as part of the EIA and AA processes, including any relevant ancillary documentation as well as the comments received from the public concerned following a 30-day public consultation. Through the assessment of the updated documentation on the EIA and AA, the Authority’s Directorate concluded that the level of significance of the environmental impacts from the 2020 proposal remain unchanged and that the findings and conclusions of the original EIA and AAs are still valid.

In this regard, the main points of concern as per ERA’s ‘Report on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Appropriate Assessment (AA) – May 2018’) relating to Ħarq il-Ħammiem cave as well as infrastructure, air quality and effects on terrestrial SAC were reiterated in the Final Assessment. Specifically, the mitigation measures as well as the methodologies as proposed by the Geo-Technical Engineers in their declarations with respect to Ħarq il-Ħammiem cave, along with other measures were recommended for inclusion as conditions to the development permit.

In this regard, the Final Assessment prepared by the Directorate was referred for the consideration of the ERA Board in line with the EIA Regulations. The decision taken by the ERA Board on 23rd April 2021 confirmed the Final Assessment put forward by the Directorate, which position will be submitted to the Planning Authority to be taken into consideration during the decision-taking on the application for the development permit on the proposed development.

23 April 2021