Category: Environment

Guidelines on Parking Management

The Local Councils’ Association launched the Guidelines on Parking Management for Local and Regional Councils on May 31st 2023. The document is one in a series of documents on Sustainable Mobility and includes other important subjects such as: walkability, accessibility, shared transport, last mile transportation, and EV changeover.

This document centers on understanding further the parking issue and proposing strategies, in the form of steps, that could lead to potential solutions in the short-medium-long term.

These strategies must be understood and considered together with other complementing steps found within the other Sustainable documents mentioned above.

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Public Consultation: Sustainable Public Transport and the re-introduction of Bus Lanes

The Local Councils’ Association is publishing this document in order to provide information on the subject of Sutainable Mobility and the means that could be of assistance in achieving the goal of sustainability. This document focuses on the re-introduction of bus lanes as a method of increasing transit speed and reliability hence this would decrease the amount of private vehicles on the road and also traffic congestion. 

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A crucial government decision – national political decision on the use of caravans

During the last days we have assisted to a very important decision taken by the central government towards the suspension of an application by Infrastructure Malta for a temporary caravan site despite the various comments on the rights and obligations of caravan owners. On the contrary one would also listen to various residents’ rights towards a free access to our beaches. Many are those caravan owners who during the summer period would occupy our beaches without leaving any foreshore access. For the general benefit and interest there should be various open discussions with different stakeholders the outcome of which could lead to better solutions in the interest of everybody.



One needs to kick off from the point that not each locality has the benefit of open recreational spaces for its residents.  Moreover, there are a large number of families who live in apartments without an adequate balcony, yard or garden for their children to recreate themselves; therefore, the number of recreational zones is somehow imperative. We need to understand and take care of the social and recreative aspects of our residents; it transpires that a number of families can’t afford  a decent residence and would instead publicly occupy caravan sites, with the latter being their only shelter.

One has to exercise caution and adopt a wider approach to avoid conflicts amongst those with different priorities for the use of the same land including farmers.

Rural zones with lesser population, agricultural zones and natural resources are very scarce in Malta hence we should focus more on our priorities.

In order to avoid conflict, there should be a holistic plan in place when dealing with protected land, camping, hiking and picnic sites.  There needs to a clear distinction between open country spaces and coastal area spaces to avoid undue pressure on the latter.

This is considered to be a seasonal pressure; coastal areas might bear higher undue pressure during the summer months and could be the cause of conflict amongst those occupying the space with caravans and other residents who would visit the area for a couple of hours for recreational purposes. It would be unfair that the same individuals would hijack public zones and grounds for long periods.

One has to distinguish between structures that are trailer driven and electric camper vans.



Undoubtedly, many believe that there has to be particular spaces allocated for this type of hobby. If this would be the case, there has to be an understanding of what is best for our country, especially for localities which are designated to host this recreational concept. Are we opting for smaller spaces in a larger number of sites or are we going for fewer but larger sites? Would we be seeking and understanding the impact this would have on the tourism industry? Are we seeing to the fact how these coastal sites could create conflict with the use of slipways not just because these would be obstructed, but also because of the additional issues of boat trailers’ owners who would want to take their boats to and from the sea through the boat ramps. Are we planning law enforcement?  This should be the point for a holistic discussion which the government has wisely decided upon.

Undoubtedly, smaller spaces scattered around the island create less impact than larger ones which are however fewer. This consideration is not just about the visual impact but also about the impact on the infrastructure, the overall upkeep, drainage system, water supply etc. I believe that in larger sites one needs to carry out an environmental impact assessment.  On the other hand, smaller sites scattered around the island are more difficult to be managed by the authorities.


The Local Council’s involvement

As like other matters happening in our localities, we have to understand the involvement of our Local Councils. It is a fact that caravan sites do create certain issues and very often police forces would need to be called in to take over situations which at times would go beyond control.

We, as a nation and society, are barely disciplined to protect the heritage that we own and which we are our bound to pass on to our future generations.

It is highly important that the Local Councils are to be involved in the making of such policies.  This is due to the fact that the Local Councils are the closest from all entities to the residents and their locality; elected members can easily understand the challenges of their residents since they reside with them round the clock. These situations are to be used to our advantage thus, because whatever is implemented can then be rarely opposed.

Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Salini, Żonqor and Żejtun are some of the few challenging zones that come to mind. We have to carefully keep in mind other camping and picnic zones where in most of the situations one finds illegal structures that were meant to be temporary however ended up being permanent. These situations create conflict with the daily temporary users of the area.  This brings us back to the argument on the importance of law enforcement for the right balance of land usage.


Land permits and usage

One must clearly differentiate between temporary and short-term permits.  According to my current understanding, nowadays, there are only temporary permits without a clear indication of their expiry.  When considering a national policy will we be delving upon the issuance of daily, weekly or monthly permits? Should granted permits be automatically renewed following their expiry? Is it just that a caravan owner would leave his own car parked in the caravan space so that same would self-reserve his own space upon his return the following weekend? Is it fair that there isn’t better use of such public spaces with a fair chance of the same space being enjoyed by the public at large? Is it fair and just that some may choose to literally hijack the coastal area for the summer period leaving no proper access to the residents and hotel guests? Should there be an effective alternating system in the issue of permits, with a proper and organized waiting list for each indicated caravan site?

Each site has to be managed by an appointed site manager who will ensure that such abuse won’t happen. This role will be the communication link between the Local Council, the authorities and the caravan owners themselves. The latter should appoint an Administrator from amongst themselves for the sake of a faster and more efficient level of communication. I strongly believe that the Administrator and the site Manager can very efficiently coordinate a booking system that allocates booking slots and thus avoid over-crowding; this is beneficial both for the caravan owners and for the same site to be publicly enjoyed.

One should consider how this model could be jointly developed with the private sector where the government would appoint private companies to administer these sites.

I believe that these questions could stir a sound and interesting discussion for the proper identification of the most suitable mechanism for the running of similar sites.


New niche in the tourism industry

A holistic plan for this sector in the long run could create a new niche for the tourism industry. For this to be operationalised there needs to be a sight energy plan which should preferably be derived from clean and alternative sources, an infrastructure of rapid charging pillars, new drainage systems, water supply and other sanitary services including strong internet connections and other daily necessities for individuals to avoid unnecessary daily commuting.  It would be ideal should these camping sites be promoting local produce; this would give higher visibility and promotion to the local culture and traditions.  Such authentic promotion would give Maltese sites added advantage over European ones.

Should Malta be looking towards such concept we have to ensure a safe and sound transport connectivity between the airport, the caravan sites and Malta’s main attractions including Ċirkewwa, Valletta, Mdina and Kottonera.

These sites should bear sufficient information on pathways and rural cycling routes leading to certain areas of interest like Rabat, Dingli, Qrendi/Żurrieq, Siġġiewi/Għar Lapsi, Marsaxlokk/Tas-Silġ and others.

In such zones one could possibly consider the cultivation of fresh herbs for self-consumption.

All of these initiatives give our sites a local particular identity which would eventually attract tourists who would be specifically looking for these types of surroundings for their vacation.



These sites could provide a twofold experience to the tourists and local travellers; it’s either an unforgettable positive experience or otherwise a totally negative experience even to those who would not make use of such space.

Therefore, in each intervention one has to ensure that spaces which are designed to specifically cater for caravans should ensure higher standards of hygiene, protection of the environment, security and accessibility.

I believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to hobby caravan enthusiasts to be out and about, however this hobby has to be in conformity with the natural surroundings and those living in the area.

In all this there has to be total synergy and communication between the government entities and agencies for works to be carried out during the most appropriate periods. It would not make sense at all that structural works and sites identification are carried out during peak months when such sites would be high in demand and full of people as this could unnecessarily leave a negative impact.

I must say that political commitment coupled with proper planning and total synergy between all parties involved, towards this ever-growing sector could undoubtedly expand and generate public revenues.



Mario Fava










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The Electric Scooters phenomenon and their challenges

Particularly during the last years, the use of electric scooters has considerably increased in the main European cities, undoubtedly with the aim and benefit of reducing air pollution, reduce traffic congestion and replace the use of private vehicles for short distances.

Despite of all the benefits, the introduction of electric scooters has also created various challenges in a number of cities where they operate. We have seen a number of operators who have introduced this new method of transport without prior consultation with the local authorities or the regulatory officials in terms of security.  This situation has created disagreement on the usage of public spaces, road security and traffic management.

The number of e scooters which have been introduced in various cities is dependent on the number of operators using the service.  If we had to give a random look to various European cities, we would find that a number of the e scooters vary from a couple of hundreds to thousands.  Hereunder are some examples.

Fleet size vs public spaces

As one could notice, there is a noticeable difference between one city and another.  The influx of these e scooters has come to a point where certain cities had to act and introduce an operational regulatory framework and Malta is no exception.  The infrastructure, the actual use of e scooters and the citizens’ attitude towards them are the key factors which make e scooters’ usage and regulatory enforcement somehow different from one city to the other.

The city of Budapest could be taken as an example of how diligently the e scooter process was introduced; the city adopted an initial scheme of 200 e scooters in a prominent zone in order to have first-hand information and data before actually legislating the regulatory process. This, has actually given them the chance to process in a factual way all the data gathered during this eight-week trial.  This trial period has put at the forefront the need for a mitigation process on issues related to public spaces, where these scooters could be used or not.  This led to structured discussions with the operator which alternatively led the public to seamlessly embrace this alternative way of transport.


During a study carried out during the last two years resulted that 16 out 19 cities which were under research identified common issues to Malta related to e scooters, namely:

  • the attitude of electric scooters’ users
  • parking spaces and the way e scooters are carelessly abandoned after use
  • driving speed

Certain cities had to introduce different measures for various zones including historical heritage sites, public parks and other touristic sites; this was intended to segregate other means of transport including those going on foot.  Besides, these measures also safeguarded historical sites and touristic zones from unpleasant situations where electric scooters are carelessly and haphazardly left along the way. Consequently, some cities have set up designated areas from where those using the e scooters could commence and eventually end their trip without leaving their scooter out and about on pavements or public gardens.  These regulatory measures also cater for tother challenges which so far have not been mentioned namely,

  • The use of e scooters on pavements
  • Lack of proper framework which addresses the same challenges
  • Wreck less driving
  • Damage to parked vehicles
  • Electric scooters’ drunken users
  • Multiple people riding same e scooter
  • Lack of suitable insurance cover
  • Abandoned e scooters (in puddles and rivers)

Scooting zones

It is somehow crucial that whenever possible there should be a segregation of the various means of available transport methods.  It does not make sense that e scooters are operated in pedestrian zones, foot paths or pavements; this takes on board the issue of speed when it comes to these scooters. A pedestrian walking at a speed of four kilometres per hour iwould be severely injured if he gets hit by a scooter with a speed of between 16 to 20 kilometres an hour.  This all depends on the individual’s stature because of a senior citizen is hit with that velocity he would surely end up dead since his body would not endure such impact.

Certain cities are turning to technology to try to reduce accidents and injuries among riders and pedestrians with the use of inbuilt e scooters sensors, the latter detecting impact and automatically reducing speed. In case of the lack of human intervention during the scooter’s operation the sensor would automatically stop the e scooter. This also applies to heavily pedestrianised areas, city squares and streets with heavy traffic flows.

Sanctions from certain sites or parks happen through geographical restrictions; this means that when a scooter reaches the designated zone it would automatically trigger the GPS and the latter would stop the scooter from entering that particular zone. This technical intervention does not require human resources to ensure its enforcement. As this cost onus is burdened by the operator the city would not incur extra expenses related to the deployment of human resources needed for this enforcement to take place.

Continuous dialogue

However, when putting aside the disadvantages, one could easily outline from a financial perspective a series of environmental benefits from this sustainable transport service. Those cities who reaped the maximum benefit of this alternative means of transport are those who managed to pool all the stakeholders for this initiative to successfully be implemented. This was done through continuous meetings amongst all those involved and the exchange of gathered data. This mechanism has brought together on the table a number of factors namely: public debates, operators who recognize their own responsibilities, the establishment of the maximum numbers of scooters per identified zone, the adoption of an open-minded approach and the ability for the modification of old habits along with total coordination with those involved.

Should a city ensure an efficient, safe and inclusive service it must take into consideration the number of required scooters needed to cater for that particular place. This planning is of utmost importance to the operators themselves since the granting of licences to a larger number of operators would be unhealthy to that same city if the latter could be well maintained with a reduced number of operators.

Therefore, it is crucial that the right mechanism should be in place to ensure:

  • What should be the maximum number of scooters and the capacity of each operator
  • The cost and validity period of each e scooter licence
  • Type of needed insurance cover
  • Proper structuring of people’s complaints
  • Operators’ obligations towards stipulated timeframes for complaints’ replies
  • A round the clock point of contact for any assistance needed by the Municipality or the respective locality council
  • A penalty structure mechanism in place which incorporates an implementation and fee collection process

The social impact

From a social perspective, this industry which is somehow ever growing needs to have a recruitment framework.  These operators would need to employ a number of back office and on the ground employees to assist in the handling of these scooters along with the necessary repairs from time to time. Hence, there needs to be a regulatory framework in place to ensure that these employees won’t be legally abused. What comes to mind are the employees within the food delivery sector who definitely do not have the best of employment conditions; one has to ensure that no sector would ever adopt such practices.

Such monitoring is carried out by various cities and its findings are usually discussed in various meetings which are regularly held between the stakeholders and the operators themselves.

The environmental impact

E scooters usage definitely carries out as a direct or indirect environmental impact which could be significant without the correct measures.   Studies which have been caried out highlight the direct impact these could have on the environment through their regular usage, rental life span, the process and practices of how these e scooters are handled by the operator and the production material used and their weight.

Further studies which have been carried out show the impact e scooter rentals had on others methods of transport. One clear example is Brussels where e scooters replaced 26% of private vehicles, 29.2%of public transport trips and 40% of bicycle and pedestrian journeys.

By swapping the use of private vehicles and public transport usage to e scooter usage, the latter also removed the health benefits that come from walking or cycling these journeys.

Hence, certain cities are encouraging e scooter operators to focus on the impact reduction these scooters could have in these central areas. This is achieved by the operators themselves considering the purchase of scooters with a longer operative lifespan, invest in proper vehicles which handle e scooter collection and distribution in these zones and ensure that their fleet is made up of e scooters made of recyclable material while ensuring that the scooters are equipped with higher capacity and long-lasting batteries which require minimal charging time and have zero emissions.  All of these factors would place the operator in an advantageous position to incur a preferential licence fee since he would be positively contributing towards the environment.

Street security

According to researched data, e scooters pose higher risks to street security with accident rate for e scooters being nearly seven times higher than bicycles; this situation poses a higher administrative burden on the administration team of the Local Councils.

Many cities have very clear established safeguards and guidelines for whoever wants to operate this kind of transportation.  These should factor in reduced impact on traffic accidents, the prohibition of drink riding, smoking, and eating as all of these collectively allow the passenger to be fully focused.

In this contest, during a study which was carried out in the capital city of Denmark showed how 36% of those involved in accidents were under the influence of either alcohol or drugs with one third of the incidents happening between 11o’clock at night and 7 in the morning.  This factor could lead to the suspension of service in certain zones and between certain periods.

One is good to know that the results of this study showed that nearly 9% of those involved in these incidents were pedestrians, three quarters of which were vulnerable members aged from new born to 14 years, sixty-year-old citizens and older.  A collection of similar data could help the adoption of certain measures for

  • Educational campaigns carried out for specific age groups
  • Minimum age for driving scooters depending on zones and time being driven
  • Limitation of one person per scooter
  • Obligatory use of helmets
  • Calls for e scooter riders to be banned from using their mobile phones while driving
  • Access rates to be analysed based on distance rather than time

All of this clearly shows the importance of a constant dialogue between all stakeholders for such measures to be equally supported by all parties and be implemented in the fastest and most efficient manner.


Undoubtedly, the most important factor in all this remains the infrastructure.  After the pandemic crisis the want for more open public spaces and pedestrian zones has increased.  For a couple of months during the pandemic we have witnessed public squares and streets completely empty from vehicles where everyone had the chance to enjoy whatever previously could not be much appreciated.

From an infrastructure perspective we have to keep in mind that these e scooters have different characteristics from those related to vehicles.  Electric scooters with small wheels are less comfortable to ride since smaller wheels tend to dip into potholes and unlevelled road surfaces, thus the impact is much stronger than a vehicle.

On the other hand their use on pavements is quite chaotic.  Hence it is crucial that an adequate infrastructure for this relatively new means of transport which does not only see the need for the proper segregation of routes but also a smoother surface and more e scooter usage friendly systems. It is thus of utmost importance that e scooters would be equipped with a good GPS system so that when the approach pedestrian areas they would automatically reduce speed.

Parking spaces for e scooters is another crucial aspect of the infrastructure. Like many other countries it is imperative that every so often one would find allocated spaces where these e scooters would be parked and charged in an organised manner; contrary to this we experience scattered e scooters haphazardly left around.

Universal docking and charging stations which would function and cater for all major electric scooters are of primary importance as these would create aesthetic soreness while they unnecessarily occupy public land.

What our country is going through

Way back in 2018 we have started experiencing an increase in this mode of transport which kept on increasing in 2019; during September of the same year the Transport Authority has called for a consultation process to better regulate the usage of electric scooters.

We have always believed and documented that despite the usage of the electric scooters requires less effort than driving a bike and make use of public transport, their usage will somehow has an impact on other residents.  It would impact the residents’ quality of life when it comes to the use of public and open spaces and when one considers the access to open spaces for persons with special needs.

We believed and anticipated that electric scooters usage will continue to destroy the few remaining open spaces and walking zones within our villages. Since their usage was not allowed in tunnels and main roads has thus purely left their usage in local areas. That is the reason why we insisted on deeper discussions with the Association of Local Councils and the Local Councils themselves to ensure that was written earlier and what was happening beyond our shores could likewise be applied to our country.

The infrastructure investment which occurred in Malta and which was long overdue was mainly concentrated on the use of vehicles; this has increased the need to work more on alternative transport methods with a longer vision.  Consequently, that is why the use of electric scooters on pavements should never be the subject for discussion.  Walking should remain the most sustainable way of transportation and should we keep on taking over the little available spaces left it would leave us no further walking space; indirectly we would be encouraging our residents to keep on making use of their private vehicles.

The dedicated use of segregated parking spaces for bikes and scooters is the most efficient manner on how this alternative transport method is utilized.

One has to differentiate between the private and commercial use of these electric scooters

One might ask:

  • Should an individual making private use of electric scooters pay the same licence fee similar to companies occupying public space? Private e scooters users would usually store their electric scooter either at home or at their place of work upon arriving at their respective destination and thus occupy no public space; hence shouldn’t these private users be incentivized for not creating an inconvenience? Whereas private users would be storing their scooter in their own property commercial operators would be using limited public spaces.
  • If electric scooters usage is designated to local streets and areas, shouldn’t Local Councils be the owners of these licences who would then decide on the quantity of issued licences pertaining to and in line with the rules and regulations of their respective locality.
  • Should there be an accessible data base for these electric scooters with information related to where they are being mostly used and their frequency?
  • Should the Local Council have the necessary authority to retrieve the licence of any operator if the latter would not abide by its obligations?
  • Should there be a screening process prior to the operative licence renewal of how coherent was the operator in line with its obligations, what accidents were caused and what was customers’ overall behaviour (thus why it is necessary that the operator should have the authority to charge his customers on negligence)
  • Should the operating licence fluctuate in line with the expense needed for better enforcement?
  • Should there be a revision of the age limit for electric scooter usage?

These and other questions are to be the basis for discussion following the three-year period following the introduction of the National policy.  Following lessons learnt, the time has come for a more mature and open discussion.  We would now be in a position to update and improve our framework in this sector while minimizing the challenges.

An improved and structured regulatory framework would be beneficial not just for the residents but most of all to the environment, traffic management and the operators themselves.

Mario Fava





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Why do we separate our waste?

When we think to get rid of the various objects or materials that we no longer need, it is very important that these are intelligently separated.  Many are those who still can’t understand the importance of the concept of this process and ask ‘Why do we need to separate our wastes’?

The reply is quite simple; the waste that is generated and not wisely separated ends up in our landfills which our country no longer has space for.  This is something that we have to take care of as long as we don’t want to end up with the remaining agricultural land that we have be taken up to store tons of waste which could easily be used as a resource. One must also mention the fact how tons of untreated waste in our landfills would, during the decomposition process release toxic gases over the years.  These gases are by far more dangerous than those emitted from our vehicles. One must understand that this is a main cause of climate change, the effect of which we are presently experiencing.

If we are to properly understand which waste could be recycled and thus increase the recycling process according to the product waste- stream, we would ensure that our generation and that of our children would have the possibility to live a decent life on this planet on which our existence is somehow very limited. Many would argue ‘What difference would I make if I recycle my own little bit?’ If we all decide to reason in this manner then nobody would make an effort to increase the dose of the present recycling quantity.

It seems that Maltese citizens obey the law because otherwise they be punished.  Yes, there are a number of responsible individuals who would ensure that the waste generated by his own household would be properly recycled.  However, this recycling practice is still being carried out sporadically; this is mainly due to the fact that our country has not actually enforced waste separation.  Civil behaviour is practiced by the few.

If and when everybody makes an effort to instead of putting everything in one bag we start wisely separating plastic, paper, metal and other mixed waste, we would start seeing the effect of our efforts much faster.

Commenting upon the latest rumours that when the government would stop the schemes of giving away free of charge the green and grey bags, some will opt to stop recycling, I would say that this is sheer nonsense and a massive irresponsibility.

Whatever colour of the garbage bag we use, we normally consume one bag per day for our waste needs thus bringing the weekly consumption of bags per family up to six bags per family. Since we normally consume one bag per day, it does not actually make a difference whether we need to pay for our bags or whether they come free of charge. If the black bags come in a pack of twenty pieces, then this would last 4 weeks instead of 3 since on the other days we would be using different bags for different waste.

The Government has to intervene to ensure that our country acts more responsibly by enforcing a mandatory approach where each resident has to separate waste. This constitutes a long educational campaign followed by a strong framework, ample human resources within the Local Councils and full enforcement which gives waste separation total priority.  Competent authorities should avoid working in isolation and must pool in competent resources to ensure effective enforcement; this should be carried out hand in hand with the Local Councils who must ensure that they have ample staff to act against those who refuse to abide by the law.

The country cannot implement similar measures if abuse is not curbed however; we cannot prolong the waiting time to have some measures in place until the necessary enforcement is up and running. Our country cannot prolong this process; our people cannot just ignore this irresponsible behaviour

We are obliged to ensure that we offer the best possible services and opportunities to our residents to help them dispose of their waste in the best possible manner; the handholding period is now over.

The outcome and the consequences of the toing and froing of previous governments is well known. This is a reformist government who is not afraid to implement the necessary changes. This sector deserves its importance and priorities and should be at the forefront of the changes that need to take place.

We are faced with a problem or rather a challenge that if handled collectively could be changed in an opportunity.  The thought of carrying out future projects is interesting however we first have to tackle the basic matters. The most basic and the most important is that we ensure that our residents are geared up into the waste separation process in the most effective manner.

Let’s take the bull by the horn and proceed in the same direction without further delay. This process already forms part of the country’s waste management vision which we now need to implement.  Let us all understand that everyone’s little contribution towards this initiative is highly beneficial and that we have to ensure that our planet is passed on to our future generations in the best possible state.

We all state that our children are our most valuable asset however, if this statement is measured against how we actually take care of our waste management, I have my doubts on its relevance.

Let’s be part of this change together.

Mario Fava


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Launch of a new scheme for local councils to implement sustainable projects

Minister for Environment, Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli announced an €800,000 scheme for local councils to implement sustainable projects in their communities.

This is the first time that local councils across Malta and Gozo can benefit from a scheme for sustainable development projects.

In a meeting held between Minister Miriam Dalli, the Director within the Directorate for Sustainable Development George Said, and the President of the Association for Local Councils Mario Fava emphasised the role of local councils as a catalyst to have more sustainable localities.

Minister Miriam Dalli explained that the main objective of this fund, administered by the Directorate for Sustainable Development, is to assist communities in the development of projects that promote sustainability in the various domains. In this way, we will be strengthening Malta’s progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The vision for our country is that of a sustainable future, which we can achieve if we act together. The local councils are an integral part of this transition towards a more inclusive and environmentally healthy society”, said Minister Miriam Dalli.  Minister Dalli also stated that “Through the sustainable development goals, we want to ensure that we create opportunities for future generations in the three main areas of social, economic and environmental development.”

Local councils are encouraged to propose projects that further improve the quality of life of the residents and that contribute to the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing, such as improving accessibility, creating open spaces, green mobility projects, retrofitting of public buildings, and innovative waste management practices.

Local councils across Malta and Gozo are invited to apply for this scheme by submitting project proposals that can be implemented in the coming months. The best proposals will receive a grant equivalent to 85% of the actual cost of the project up to a maximum of €300,000.

Applications open today and must be submitted by Friday, 23 September 2022 until 12pm on

The guidelines and application are available on the website:




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LCA launches its first Good Practice Guide

The Association of Local Councils launched its first Good Practice Guide on Monday 13th September 2021 – Electric Vehicle Public Infrastructure. 

This document is one of the twenty-four documents the Local Councils’ Association, the assistance of several experts, is publishing under ‘ResidentFirst’, a multi-year project in partnership with the Local Councils.  ResidentFirst focuses on Sustainable mobility, Open Spaces, Smart Cities and Green Environments, further identifying how these pillars may improve the quality of life of our residents in their respective localities. 

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Sustainable Transport

The means of transport we use are responsible for a quarter of the carbon emissions generated in the world. Carbon is a gas which contributes to climate change, and more than three quarters of it is generated on our roads. This means that the cars and trucks that we use every day to deliver our goods and to go from one place to another are leaving a significant negative impact on our air quality.  

It is estimated that the number of cars around the world is at around 1.3 billion, and this is anticipated to continue to rise to 2 billion by the year 2050. The same can be said for the demand in the transport of goods, which is expected to grow to three times current levels by the same year. 

Therefore, the challenge that we must address is how we are going to meet this demand for transport in the most sustainable way possible. Urban mobility is crucial in all of this. This is because, together, we need to find new solutions that will lead to a dramatic decrease in the impact of transport on the environment that we live in every day.     

If one had to carry out research on the transportation of goods in our towns, one would find that many vehicles very often have goods compartments that are not entirely full, or even have more empty space than used space. In addition, a lot of the time, these vehicles are stationary. Therefore, it is important that a serious study is done, together with all the relevant stakeholders, so that the potential of this method of transport is maximised, as well as to think of better ways in which goods can be transported, with less impact, and with more efficiency.

There are various things we can do as individuals to reduce this negative impact. We can start by avoiding the use of cars, where that is possible. This means becoming more accustomed to virtual meetings in our life, making more use of bikes and scooters, and even walking. Making more frequent use of public transport, or sharing a taxi ride with different people. If you had to take a look at the other vehicles sharing the road with you, or when stopping in traffic, more often than not you are unlikely to find more than one person in the car travelling alongside you. You will generally be hard pressed to find a car that has three or four persons in it. This results in a stuation where the average occupancy for each vehicle on our roads does not exceed one and a half passengers. This is very low when we all know that each vehicle can carry four people. With a bit of effort, and arrangements with colleagues, we can easily reduce two or three cars for each vehicle on the road.  

Another thing that we could do when travelling by car is to use smaller vehicles. Ones that consume less fuel, that have less emissions, and which help in reducing the amount of traffic on the roads. Obviously, we can go one step further and use hybrid cars or electric cars.

When it comes to online shopping, as consumers, we can choose to not opt for urgent or expedited shipping, and thus allow time for them to be delivered along with other products coming to the same destination. Certain online sellers offer the option of delivery to collection points, so that there is less risk of failed delivery when you are not home, and thus avoiding unnecessary extra trips. Decisions like these, although small, can also make a big difference. 

The use of alternative means of transport is sustainable in every way: good for our health and our pockets
Cleaner means of transport help to improve air quality in our localities.
Infrastructure for walking and cycling is crucial to encourage more people to make use of these sustainable means of transport and to reduce the impact of pollution in our localities.

Article by Mario Fava – President of the Local Councils’ Association

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Thinking with different mentalities and priorities

It feels great when you do something that you’re normally told you cannot do.

When we were young, we heard these countless times; “Watch how you cross the road”, “Don’t play with the ball outside because you’ll get run over by a car”, “You can’t ride your bike on the road because you’ll get hurt”!!

Unfortunately, now that we have grown older, our children not only do not ask the questions that get them these answers, but rather take it for granted that they should not ask these questions to their parents in the first place, because they understand that it is simply impossible to do so on our roads.

It’s so lovely then if our children can do what we could not do and what they didn’t expect that they would be able to do. What am I saying?

Resident Access

More and more cities all over Europe, and even in the rest of the world, are taking initiatives, even radical ones, where during certain days and times, residents are given free access to principal roads to do exactly what they cannot do in normal circumstances. Roads are closed to private cars and are freely accessible for those who would like to walk, do exercise, use a bike, go out with their scooter, play with a ball etc.  

When we speak about equality, when we speak about quality of life, when we speak about children’s joy and contentedness, when we speak about the ways in which we socialise, when we speak about illness and the conditions that are brought about by mental health, when we speak about children who have conditions such as attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder, we rarely think about things like open spaces, accessibility, and equity for those who do not afford to buy a car and who have every right as those who do afford one to enjoy the roads and spaces of their community. 


What does equality mean within the scope of accessibility? Equality within the scope of accessibility means that everyone, independent of their financial income, has the same opportunity to enjoy what the state provides for free. That if someone affords a Ferrari and enjoys making use of our roads and spaces by cruising in their car, another person who does not afford to buy a car also has the same right to make use of our country’s infrastructure in other ways, in a safe manner and without the fear of possibly getting in an accident that would leave them confined to a bed for months.     

This can happen if the plans that are made for our towns and villages prioritise people, as opposed to prioritising cars. We need to start reasoning, thinking, and acting in different ways, so that our priorities are different. Priorities which will allow us to start thinking about how we want to live before we begin planning our towns. The main point should no longer be what type of transport we want to use, but what type of life we want to live. On the basis of this, we will plan and design means of transport, roads, and public spaces.

How does a city like Amsterdam, in which around two million people live, have 40% of people travelling by bike? You might tell me, “but there are no hills there”. In the centres of our towns and villages there are no hills either, and despite this, we still go fetch our carton of milk in our private car, we still go buy newspapers in our private car, we still don’t go to the pharmacy on foot. 

The difference between towns

What is it about our towns and villages that makes us want to live in them? To begin with, not everything is completely good or completely bad, but something one definitely does before buying a house in a different locality is checking or finding out how the other residents of the locality live, if there are play areas for children, if there are places to go for walks with their dog, if there are spaces where one can meet up or socialise.

These are the elements that distinguish one town from another, and not whether there are enough parking spaces. Because what makes a town or village beautiful? Is it the town that has the most parking spaces? I don’t think so. It is the town where one can go out and meet people. And so, how can an architect behind a desk draw a plan for public transport or for new roads without considering all of this? How can an architect, simply because they are an architect – without consulting what the residents of that town or village want – design a project that would split the locality in half? Shouldn’t the people’s and residents’ voices have weight before we even begin scawling on the drawing board?

When people go shopping, where do they choose to go? To a place where there is a road full of cars and to go from one shop to another you have to keep your eyes peeled to not get run over while crossing? Or to places where between shops you can find somewhere to stop and have a coffee, have a chat, sit down and have a snack? And if we are not going to make better use of our spaces that already exist, how are we going to improve people’s quality of life? What kind of quality of life is this, when we are frantically running around in cars to keep up with life, instead of finding the time to use the spaces that exist in localities and making use of the services that are already present in our own locality?

Walking is a right

People want to walk, not to live, but to be content. The children I mentioned previously, with the conditions I mentioned, want open spaces, not just to look at them but to play and calm their nerves, and so, their parents can have the peace of mind that their children can play and burn up their energy in a safe manner. If animals in forests want space to run, if birds want space to fly, don’t people want space to live? Humans were created with two legs to walk, and our first thought should be to provide places for humans to walk. This is the most sustainable means of transport from every aspect. Human beings were not created to fear leaving their house when they turn sixty or seventy because they might fall on the pavement, which has been blocked by a garbage bag that has been lying there for hours waiting to be picked up. An elderly woman did not turn seventy to walk on a pavement that is full of ups and downs depending on how many garages there are on the street, or to slip from a pavement because the material it is made from becomes slippery after a few months exposed to the elements.       

What I’m saying is not something you can prove scientifically, but it is something that you feel within you. If one had to ask; What do you prefer; walking on a pavement of one metre or a pavement of two metres? Obviously, there is no theory that says you will walk better on a pavement of two metres. This is because a sole person can walk on a pavement of one metre. But when you walk on a pavement of two metres and there’s a buffer between the cars passing on the road and you, a buffer made up of trees, it is obvious that you will feel better and have more fun walking. It is likely too that that difference would be enough to give you the courage to stop using your private vehicle to carry out errands up to a kilometre or two away from your home, and to start doing them by walk. This is the quality of life that we need to talk about. This is like when you need to have a meeting. You could do it in a classroom between four walls and you could do it in a small theatre room that gives a better sense of space that will result in more participation from the participants. If you carry out the meeting in a small dark room, without any natural light, the participants will probably complain, even if just to themselves. The same can be said for our towns and villages. You can have that locality where anything goes, while, on the other hand, you can have a locality that gives aspiration and a greater sense of community, together with a sense of membership amongst residents, that makes them proud to live there and not in some other locality. 

The social aspect

From the dawn of time, humans were created to meet and mix with other people. How can this happen if we are not providing places for people to meet? People want to be in contact with nature, with trees, with greenery, with water. The town or village that is suitable for persons with a disability, for people who are vulnerable, such as the elderly or children, that is accessible for those who have a low income, is the town or village that is good for the whole population. We cannot plan towns and villages that lead to the exclusion of part of the community. We cannot only think of large shopping complexes with designer brands, places where people of a certain income can go for their outings. We also want places where those who afford a walk will also find a place where they can go. 

When we say that citizens are all equal in front of the law, this is a very powerful statement. Since this is the case, the common good should be placed before private interest. This makes a lot of sense when looking at public places that have become privatised, such as beaches, parts of paths to the sea, and others. Especially when these are in urban spaces, they should never be given to the private sector for exclusive use by the owner, with residents then having to pay in order to make use of them or to access them. If they are to be given over for business purposes, and I understand that this should sometimes be the case, public access must be kept open.  


This all requires a change of mentality, in our culture, in our priorities. I shall close with the following as I believe it leaves a lot to think about;

The problem in all this is that we have become so accustomed to the idea that this is the only way that we have to live by, that we have taken it for granted that things cannot change and that we have to be reactive to what is happening today, instead of working to be proactive with regards to what we can leave our children for the future.  

Article by Mario Fava – President of the Local Councils’ Association

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Burgas collects old clothes for an ecological art installation

“Hugged nature” reminds of the connection between environmental issues and the fashion industry

A new campaign for collecting clothes has started in Burgas, which will then be used to create an ecological art installation. The campaign runs until 15 June.

“Hugged Nature” is the name behind which a future art installation will be made with the support of the Municipality of Burgas. With this work, the young artist Bozhana Slavkova will raise questions about “fast fashion”, the felling of urban trees and forests, as well as the relationship between environmental and social issues and the fashion industry – the second largest polluter on Earth.

Nature and art connected in one

Through the artistic method of yarn-bombing, which involves dressing elements of the urban environment in specially knitted “clothes” – in this case, the trees on a main street in the seaside town.

Residents of the city and anyone else who wishes can join the initiative by sending their non-usable clothes, especially if they are colourful, to be used for this project. All colours without black are welcomed. Knitted materials will also be accepted, such as cardigans, sweaters, blankets, duvets or crocheted tablecloths. Old fabrics, yarns and ready-made knits will also be accepted.

Those who have the time can prepare yarn from old materials, which will help the initiative. The participants do not need to be from Burgas to participate in the collection of materials. But those from the city can get involved in the whole project as volunteers.

The installation is expected to be installed in Burgas on 1 July, and at the end of August the clothes will be removed from the trees.

The organizers welcome citizens to participate in the project to show concern for nature, create urban art and get rid of unnecessary old clothes. The duration of the installation may vary depending on its condition. The organizers will constantly consult with an expert opinion so as not to cause any damage to the trees.

It is not clear at this time what condition the “clothes” of the trees will be in, but if they remain in good condition, they may then be placed on trees in other cities or sent to people who wish to put them on. When their lives come to an end, the clothes will be given for recycling.

Article taken from

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