Whoever published an article saying that 200 trees would be uprooted did not contact government or the authorities, as otherwise we would have told them there was never such a plan, Transport Minister Ian Borg said.
He was speaking to The Malta Independent about the controversy regarding the uprooting of trees along the Central Link project.
Transport Minister Ian Borg was asked why government chose to submit plans showing that a large amount of trees would be uprooted from Rabat road, Attard, when now government is saying this amount was reduced to 15. This project has been put under the microscope and has been the topic of much public criticism.
“When one has such a large project, and like any other project including smaller ones, the plans always continue developing, and one always improves upon them. Whoever published an article saying that 200 trees would be uprooted did not contact government or the authorities, as otherwise we would have told them that it was never the thought or plan for government or Transport Malta.”
“Immediately after that article, the plans were already updated and released after consultation with stakeholders, and the number of trees to be uprooted were reduced to 60. It is not good to lose a single tree, let alone 60, and we continued improving so that, firstly, only 15 of the existing 300 trees would be uprooted, and that another 300 trees would be planted along the project. So at the end of the project, there will be around 600 trees in total after the project concludes”
He said that if they can continue improving the plans they will, but stressed that “not doing the project is not an option. Attard has been struggling for years due to lack of planning, and this project needs to occur as quickly as possible.”
He said that he fears there might have been someone who tried to mislead regarding the trees, so that roads in Attard would not be widened.
This newsroom highlighted that the latest publicly available plans still show a large number of trees to be removed on Rabat road, to which the minister said that yesterday, officials from the Environment Ministry, and Transport Malta had continued improving the plans, and that yesterday they said 15 trees would be removed and not more from Rabat road. He said that if they can improve further they will.
Original article found on The Malta Independent