The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has come upmin defence of the chopping down of trees in Attard, saying it was all part of the Central Link Project.
In a statement on Friday, ERA said it received an application for a variation to the existing permit for the Central Link Project which included the removal of two Ficus trees in Triq Nutar Zarb, Attard.
During the processing of this application, ERA asked for justifications from Infrastructure Malta for this request for variation.
Whilst IM stated that the removal of the trees in question was needed due to the necessity of an exit lane, IM also provided expert advice that the trees could not be transplanted and had to be removed as the extent of services within the roots structure is extensive and that any attempt to transplant the trees would be fruitless as the root structure will be impacted irreparably.
The Directorate evaluated the proposed application for variation of permit taking into account the information which was provided and the case was put forward for consideration by ERA Board on the 7th May 2021. The ERA Board referred back the application to the Directorate so the applicant submits to the ERA alternative layouts which would avoid the removal of the trees in question.
On 18 May, IM replied to this request by stating that it cannot be considered since the proposed design are the result of a Road Safety Audit and hence alternative options were not possible, hence both trees had to be removed for road user safety. The ERA Board considered the submission by the expert engaged by the applicant and documentation stating that no alternative layouts are possible in view of road safety standards and granted the permit on 21st May.
As the work was being carried out, residents gathered to complain, saying that the trees have been there for more than 70 years.