Wirt iż-Żejtun, a non-governmental organisation with its main aim being that of creating awareness about the need to protect the cultural and natural heritage of the town of Żejtun, on the occasion of World Environment Day celebrated today the 5th June, is expressing its concern about a proposal being driven by the Żejtun Local Council for the opening of a new road in the rural area of Ħajt il-Wied.
This proposal was made quite some time ago by the Żejtun Local Council and in fact this was included in the Local Plan prepared by MEPA some years ago. However in its policy document, MEPA had stated clearly that any such proposal should first be properly evaluated, and its impact on the rural and natural environment be properly studied, so that one could understand better what impact would such a road leave on this rural and agricultural area. Notwithstanding this, during the past weeks, the Żejtun Local Council has increased its pressure to move on with its proposal.
Wirt iż-Żejtun feels that this area has to be protected from such destruction for two main reasons. First of all, a large number of protected trees, mainly olive and carob, characterise this valley which is the green lung of Żejtun. Moreover, the area is also rich in agriculture, with the majority of the fields being cultivated all year round. Past experience has shown that when new roads are opened just off the peripheral boundary of an urban area, the pressure to build up the area enveloped between the new road and such boundary, increases drastically under the excuse of rationalisation. If this happens, Żejtun will be loosing an important part of its cultural heritage. It is also interesting to note that the periphery of the urban area, just off Ħajt il-Wied, is characterised by medieval vernacular buildings that have high blank walls overlooking the rural area. This is a unique feature which resembles a fortified wall made up of a series of houses which was aimed to secure the village against corsar intrusions, highly frequent at the time when these houses were built.
It is for these reasons that lately Wirt iż-Żejtun has sent a letter to the Żejtun Local Council, expressing its concern about the proposal for this new road and requesting the local council to withdraw such proposal. This letter was copied to the Prime Minister; the Leader of Opposition; the Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change; the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure; the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture and Local Councils; the Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Administrattive Improvement; the MEPA Chairman and the Director of Local Government.