Public outcry against plans for a miniature airstrip on the outskirts of scenic Wied Żnuber continued to persist, with residents of Birżebbuġa and a number of NGOs calling for the plans to be withdrawn and the whole set classified of the valley as an exterior development. Area.
On Sunday morning, a group of Birżebbuġa residents, associations and interested people marched from the Bengħajsa church to the area of Wied Żnuber currently reserved for a miniature airstrip.
Activists have insisted that the plans be immediately withdrawn and the area around the valley designated ODZ as promised by Prime Minister Robert Abela last March. Birżebbuġa Mayor Scott Camilleri also joined the event and called for Wied Żnuber’s protection.
The informative walk saw natural historians and history experts discuss the value of this place which consists of valuable historical relics such as the prehistoric dolmen and military shelter as well as the protected flora and fauna of a habitat of over additionally threatened – scrubland and rocky habits where rainwater from ponds forms. The site also adjoins a Natura 2000 site where shearwaters nest and serves as a buffer zone between this protected site and the surrounding factories.
“A miniature airstrip will occupy a large area of land and pollute the entire area around the valley and the cliffs with loud noise and light. It is clear that such a project has no place in the area and not just because of the land it will destroy but also because of its invasive impact on the whole area,” four NGOs said in a joint statement.
Għaqda Storja u Kultura Birżebbuġa, Moviment Graffitti, BirdLife Malta and Din l-Art Ħelwa spearheaded opposing plans to build a miniature airstrip on the outskirts of scenic Wied Znuber in Birzebbuga.
The agreement between three government agencies and the Ħal Far Model Flying Association was signed last February in a process the NGOs described as taking place “behind everyone’s backs and without any consultation”. .
The details of this agreement were unveiled last month and clearly show that the government has committed to allocating a natural and agricultural site of 44,440 square meters – the size of six and a half football pitches – for the construction of the aerodrome and surrounding facilities.
“Besides the destruction of natural and agricultural land, the miniature airstrip will have a severe impact on the inhabitants as they will lose the current peace of Wied Żnuber for the entertainment of the few,” the groups said.
“It is a form of injustice that becomes even more evident when considering that Wied Żnuber is one of the few remaining natural sites in Birżebbuġa and its surroundings; a place that is already burdened by excessive development that has negatively impacted the quality of life,” they added.
On March 17, during an activity in Birżebbuġa, Prime Minister Roberta Abela said that no development would take place in Wied Żnuber and that the area around the bottom of the valley would be turned into an ODZ. The miniature airstrip is planned for the only part of Wied Żnuber which is not yet ODZ despite its natural value.
The inhabitants and associations therefore asked the Prime Minister to honor his word and ensure that no development takes place in Wied Żnuber and that the part around the bottom of the valley becomes ODZ.
This necessarily means that miniature airstrip projects are withdrawn, they noted.