The Għaqda Storja u Kultura Birżebbuġa is urging Abela to honor his electoral promise and withdraw the planned development on this natural site, based on an agreement signed days before the general election.
The Birżebbuġa NGO has written a formal letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela addressing the issue of the Wied Żnuber area in Ħal Far. This marks the fifth letter to the Prime Minister, with previous attempts remaining unanswered.
In his speech earlier this month, the Prime Minister referenced the airstrip project for model planes in the Wied Żnuber area. Abela had stated, “We will perform an amendment in Wied Żnuber, where although we will ensure the realisation of the airstrip for model airplane enthusiasts, but this will be lessened in size while ensuring the buffer zone surrounding the valley bottom, that presently forms part of the industrial area, becomes ODZ.”
However, the NGO contends that this statement contradicts the Prime Minister’s earlier pledge prior to the March 2022 general election. On March 16, 2022, Dr. Abela unequivocally ruled out development in Wied Żnuber, stating, “no development will take place in Wied Żnuber.” A day later, on March 17, 2022, during a visit to the Birżebbuġa market, he declared that “if reapproved, a new Labour Government will declare the area surrounding the valley bottom ODZ.”
The key reasons cited for the withdrawal request include the site’s proximity to a Natura 2000 site, its ecological and archaeological significance, lack of public consultation, absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study, incorrect inclusion in the industrial zone, past unsuccessful development attempts, and conflicts with EU directives on Natura 2000 sites.
The NGO emphasizes the need to correct the mistake of including Wied Żnuber in the industrial zone, preserve its ecological importance, and fulfill the promise of declaring the area ODZ, maintaining it as a buffer zone between the industrial area and the Natura 2000 site.