Attard residents have created a united front as they step up their efforts to block plans for the upgrade of the road network that will eat up agricultural land and increase traffic in the area.
Last month transport minister Ian Borg launched the €55 million ‘Central Link project’ which he said will upgrade the infrastructure in the centre of Malta between Mriehel Bypass and Saqqajja Hill.
The project, which should be concluded by 2020, includes the construction of 7.4km of new roads.
Announcing the creation of the Attard Residents Environmental Network, residents said that over the years various areas that used to serve as a green lung have been taken over by construction works.
“It is time to say goodbye to various agricultural lands, farms and other open spaces to construct a road which soon will be the cause of air pollution,” the network said.
The newly created Attard Residents Environmental Network said they believed this would lead to respiratory diseases to families and children who live close to project.
Residents have questioned whether government had considered alternative options before launching the project which has also come under attack by environmentalists, Alternattiva Demokratika and the Environment Resources Authority.
The loss of agricultural land along a four-kilometre stretch has drawn the ire of residents who have called on government to take the necessary action so the environment could be safeguarded.
Following the project’s announcement, Green Party local councillor in Attard Ralph Cassar said the government’s plan to solve the traffic problem by widening roads and adding lanes was unsustainable. He added that the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) pushed by the European Commission was completely absent from the plans.