The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has prepared an information document to support green infrastructure in Malta, in line with the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) as adopted by the Government of Malta.
Green Infrastructure (GI) relates to landscaping and its planning in natural, rural and urban settings, and promotes greener approaches in landscaping and land management. One of the main environmental challenges we face today is the small size of the country and the loss of biodiversity associated with degradation. The promotion of green infrastructure as well as several on-going and planned green infrastructure projects aim at expanding green open spaces in both rural and urban settings and reducing carbon and water footprint.
This is a relatively new concept in Malta. GI is seen as a solution aimed at bettering quality of life, at improving water and air quality, and maintaining biodiversity. This has multiple other social, health and economic benefits, besides the more obvious ecological benefits.
The NBSAP’s measures on GI
Measure EN4 of the NBSAP states that components for building a GI (as a holistic framework for resource planning and conservation) are to be strengthened to improve the ecological coherence of Natura 2000, via integration into the broader landscape (to curb habitat fragmentation), improve adaptation to climate change, and aid in integrated flood management.
Measure SI6 also notes the role and importance of the principles of integrated planning to devise measures to safeguard the wider countryside from urban sprawl, to support urban biodiversity and to contribute towards the EU priorities on a GI.
Investing in GI
The information document aims to provide an informative account of the GI concept. It is intended to help promote and motivate additional initiatives at various levels, in line with relevant and applicable national laws. Throughout the information document, ERA underlines that GI needs to be developed whilst taking into account both the natural and social aspects to achieve a better quality of life.
The main objectives of the proposed information document are:
- to provide a concise and informative account of the concept of GI and promote and motivate additional initiatives at varying levels;
- to address what constitutes GI and its related benefits, with an overview of national policies that currently promote GI implementation in Malta;
- to explore EU funding instruments that include GI as an eligible priority for investment;
- to provide case examples of GI-related initiatives and projects of a local, national or transboundary nature;
- to assist in the development of a Green Infrastructure Action Plan for the Maltese Islands.
In relation to specific examples of the integration of green infrastructure in spatial planning processes in Malta, more information can be accessed from the following links: Green Infrastructure in Malta and the Green Infrastructure Information Document. The latter is a supporting information document, which has been adopted earlier this year following public consultation, with the aim to promote further green infrastructure in Malta.
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