The Environment and Resources Authority welcomes the decision taken today by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) confirming a decision taken by ERA in 2019, when it designated Tal-Wej as a Special Area of Conservation of both National and International Importance.
Covering an area of 203,484 m2, within the limits of Mosta and Naxxar, the ERA had designated the Tal-Wej as a Natura 2000 protected site. A number of landowners had objected to the decision. Today, the Tribunal confirmed the importance of protecting the site in its entirety, as part of the European Natura 2000 ecological network.
The Tal-Wej is characterised by temporary freshwater rockpools that form in outcrops of the Lower Coralline Limestone. These freshwater rockpool habitats are locally scarce due to their temporary nature, small size and limited distribution. They host flora such as the Maltese Waterwort (Elatine gussonei), the Maltese Horned Pondweed (Zannichellia melitensis) and fauna such as the Tadpole Shrimp (Triops cancriformis) and the Painted Frog (Discoglossus pictus). Additionally, the area also hosts garrigue and grassland habitats.
The area is also listed as a Class A archaeological site, forming part of a wider cultural landscape that includes cart-ruts, dolmens, ancient quarries, rock-cut tombs, corbelled huts and a 16th century chapel dedicated to Santa Margherita.