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MALTATODAY 13 December 2020

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12 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 13 DECEMBER 2020 NEWS The Flying Carpet Importers of hand-knotted Oriental carpets THE FLYING CARPET - OLD RAILWAY TRACK, ATTARD Mon - Tues, Thurs - Sat 10am – 12pm • Wednesday morning closed Mon - Fri – 4.30pm - 7pm Importers of: Various hand knotted carpets and Kilims, Non Slip Underlay, Dry and Liquid shampoo. Mobile No. 7953 Villas could replace Bahrija rural homes JAMES DEBONO A cluster of rural farmhouses known as l-Irziezet tal-Imtahleb in Bahrija, could be turned into four villas in an area out- side the development zone. The site forms part of a scheduled Ar- ea of Ecological Importance and an Area of High Landscape Value. This agglom- eration of rural structures, which have access from existing country roads, are surrounded by natural habitat and by some patches of agricultural land. Businessman Michael Peresso wants to turn the structures into four 182sq.m villas each with a pool and decking area, for a total built-up area of 850sq.m. The present cluster, built haphazard- ly over the years, occupies a footprint of 710sq.m. Yet all four pools are being proposed for presently undeveloped land. Indigenous trees will screen the development. Back in 2015 the PA had granted Ema- nuel Peresso a permit for the restora- tion of one of the existing farmhouses, which was to be re-used as a residential dwelling. Subsequently Peresso applied for a pool but the application was later withdrawn. In 2014, the PA's advisory panel on heritage issues concluded that the farm- houses had vernacular value and should be preserved, and that any reconstruc- tion be limited within the existing built footprint. But the committee found no objection to the partial demolition and reconstruction of the property wherev- er restoration was not possible. The 2015 permit retained most of the external walls of the original building and was only limited to the demolition of some of the existing internal walls, without significant changes to the char- acter or profile of the original building. The building was eligible for conver- sion, as it was inhabited as recently as 1985. A pilot project will deploy three environment rangers in Malta's green areas in a first for the island. The three rangers will be trained on local flora and fauna, regulations pertaining to protected and green areas, community involvement, as well as existing threats and pressures on the local environment. An additional 13 rangers will be recruited in 2021 to patrol most of Malta's protected and rural areas, including Natura 2000 sites. Environment minister Aaron Farrugia said the rangers will be raising environmental awareness and ensure that the general public respects rural zones. "The environmental projects in our rural areas require strong enforcement. This pilot project was kicked off with the recruitment of three environmental rangers who will be protecting the surroundings in various areas around the country. "At the moment the rangers are currently undertaking in-house training by Ambjent Malta, the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), and local environmental NGOs, and will have both an enforcement role as well as an educational one. This is just the beginning: in the coming year we will see more recruitment as Malta will not only have strong environmental projects but also strong enforcement," Farrugia said. The environmental rangers will also deliver information programmes to school children and the general public and collect geographic data, including occurrences of invasive and non-native species, fly-tipping, and other illegal activities. Green rangers

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