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Meeting between the Malta Chamber of Planners and RTPI president

John Acres, president of the Royal Town Planning Institute of the UK (second from left), with the Malta Chamber of Planners.

John Acres, president of the Royal Town Planning Institute of the UK (second from left), with the Malta Chamber of Planners.

The Malta Chamber of Planners recently had the opportunity to meet John Acres, president of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) of the UK. Mr Acres was one of the speakers at the recent conference organised by the Planning Authority on the subject of planning for liveable spaces.

This was an opportunity for council members of the Chamber to discuss with Mr Acres the possibility of exploring future cooperation between the Chamber and RTPI as well as Chamber members seeking membership in the RTPI.

The Chamber also expressed concern on the current situation on planning, where decisions are apparently being simply based on development pressures. Policy documents have been reviewed to accommodate such developments and weaken any form of appropriate planning.

The SPED is a case in point where policies have been worded in such a vague manner that facilitates the acceptance of certain projects.

The Chamber reiterated that the weakening of the planning process has been a gradual and systematic process by both the previous legislation as well as the current administration. However, in recent years the disregard to proper planning has reached heights never experienced before. This is evident by the numerous attacks on the Planning Authority by various NGOs in the papers as well as organised protests.

The fact that the planning profession is not yet recognised in Malta is another issue that has been pending for years. The Chamber sought to obtain recognition for the planning profession years ago, but to no avail. This would have been an important step forward since currently other professions are engaging in planning related work without the necessary qualifications and expertise. This situation has demoralised most of the well-meaning planners.

Council members also referred to some of the most pressing planning problems being faced as a result of the current economic boom and related development boom, namely the transport situation, the disposal of waste, as well as the numerous developments being permitted without any proper assessment of the infrastructural limitations and the increase in population firstly as a result of the many foreigners seeking work on the island as well as the ever increasing numbers of tourists visiting the island especially during the peak summer months.

During the meeting Mr Acres was accompanied by Michele Vianello, international policy and research officer at RTPI.

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