HomeFitnessScrap the notorious rationalisation exercise scheme

Scrap the notorious rationalisation exercise scheme


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In my article of January 5, I had written that Malta is experiencing a time of growing but unequal prosperity, which, unfortunately, is promoting a relatively higher rate of destruction of the island’s natural countryside.

Development in Malta is unbridled, running wild, without control and enforcement to effectively curb the ensuing damage and waste. It is excessive and totally disproportionate to the relatively minute size of the country and detrimental to the quality of life.

All Maltese, including the ruling classes, know this but they have been paying only lip service against these excesses. Yet another alarming sequel to this sad saga surfaced only this week when news emerged that speculators are seeking to rezone some 11,500 square metres of arable land in Żurrieq, on the premise that the land falls in the development zone according to the 2006 rationalisation scheme.

Conscious of this, how can Maltese political leaders and government authorities sit dishonestly silent as flagrant speculation of more agricultural land is permitted and, yet, publicly vouch for more open spaces?

The hypocrisy is historical and overwhelming: even in 2006, when the rationalisation scheme was proposed by the Nationalist administration, the Labour opposition had officially criticised the exercise in parliament but Labour MPs actually applied for more land to be included in the scheme on behalf of their constituents. And the Nationalist minister generously obliged.

Ras ir-Raħeb promontory as seen from Baħrija.

The Ramblers’ Association of Malta fought tooth and nail against the scandalous scheme and even battled it in the courts of law for 13 years against all odds. I recall very well that, at the invitation of the then minister, George Pullicino, our late president, Lino Bugeja and I  had argued vehemently with him not to introduce the scheme as it would ruin Malta’s environment by eating up large chunks of vital open spaces next to urban areas. Ours were cries in the wilderness.

Malta has since witnessed poorly planned, frenzied, cheap and unimaginative constructions spreading like wildfire, annihilating the vital open spaces that surrounded our vernacular village cores. Malta has ended up losing face and character.

In the circumstances, the least one expects from the present Labour government is to intervene on behalf of general opinion, popular acclaim and common sense and put a stop to the notorious rationalisation scheme and salvage what remains endemic of our dear nation.

Alex Vella is honorary president of the Ramblers’ Association of Malta.

Ramblers enjoying views from Għargħur.Ramblers enjoying views from Għargħur.

Ramblers’ walks for April

The Ramblers’ Association of Malta has launched its programme of walks for April. All walks are circular and designed for its members and guests to enjoy the vigorous and friendly outdoor recreation.


Sunday, April 7: Għargħur/Naxxar (nature/scenic)

A valley walk in the lush countryside beneath the Victoria Lines that will lead to Għar San Pietru and the Magħtab area before heading upwards to the ‘Top of the World’ and back to Għargħur.

Meeting point: Telgħa t’Alla u Ommu roundabout (https://goo.gl/maps/MYbyUr372UAV9R9k9)

Starting time: 9am

Rating: Moderate to hard

Duration: 3.5 hours


Sunday, April 14: The north-west of Rabat (scenic)

An interesting walk in the outskirts of Rabat and Dingli that will open up to the vast countryside of Baħrija and Mġarr, with panoramic sea and landscape views.

Meeting point: National Water Conservation Centre (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ghajn+National+Water+Conservation+Centre/@35.8841084,14.390885,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x130e519208167575:0x2e0e6c512e0ae7be!8m2!3d35.8841084!4d14.390885!16s%2Fg%2F11gb3qy2k2?entry=ttu)

Starting time: 9am

Rating: Easy to moderate, with a couple of steep inclines

Duration: 3 hours


Sunday, April 21: Aħrax tal-Mellieħa (cultural/scenic)

The walk starts from the car park near the Red Tower and heads east towards L-Aħrax then north along the path towards the White Tower. Following the coastline and cliffs it proceeds past Għar Tuta and heads back over the Qammiegħ cliffs.

Meeting point: Red Tower car park

Starting time: 9am

Rating: Medium, with some rocky patches

Duration: 3.5-4 hours


Sunday, April 28: Tal-Wey/Wied il-Għasel (cultural/nature)

The Tal-Wej area is renowned for its rock pools and their peculiar habitat, besides the prehistoric Dolmen nearby. The walk in this countryside is very interesting and leads on to Wied il-Għasel through Naxxar Gap and further down the valley of Għajn Riħana. A lot of interesting cultural spots along the route.

Meeting point: Telgħa t’Alla u Ommu roundabout (https://goo.gl/maps/MYbyUr372UAV9R9k9)

Starting time: 9am

Rating: Moderate

Duration: 3 hours




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