The Environment and Resources Authority has warned that new road plans in Attard will result in the “uptake of extensive stretches of arable land” and will have “direct and indirect effects on protected trees”.
In its first reaction to the proposed road project ERA expressed no particular concerns on the upgrading and widening “within the existing established bypass along Triq l-Imdina and Triq l-Belt Valletta” but expressed concern on the impact on new stretches of road works impacting agricultural land resulting from the widening of a number of residential roads at the edge of the development zone.
The aim of the new road project is to ease traffic congestion in the area.
The project includes a 1.3 kilometre long new thoroughfare which will link the lower part of Mdina Road, close to the Mrieħel Bypass exit, to the entrance of the Attard industrial zone opposite the Wied Inċita nursery.
In November the Transport Ministry denied that the project will affect agricultural land and said that it was working hand in hand with the Environment and Resources Authority to minimise any environmental impact.
Details of the project first emerged in October in newspaper adverts in which Transport Malta gave notice of the project to land owners directly affected by the project in line with the Development Planning Act.
The adverts revealed that Triq Oliver Agius, Triq Ferdinand Inglott and Triq Tumas Chetcuti will be linked together to form the new Attard Bypass. This will include a stretch of undeveloped land at the end of Triq Hannibal.
In Parliament, Minister Ian Borg had denied that the project will take up 13,5000 square metres of agriculture land when answering a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Toni Bezzina.
Alternattiva Demokratika has warned that the project planned since the 1960s will not solve traffic problems as more roads would lead to more traffic.