Farmers want precautions over extended Qrendi fireworks factory

Superintendence for Cultural Heritage expresses 'its immediate concern' on a proposed 4,000sq.m expansion of the Qrendi fireworks factory on agricultural land

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has expressed “its immediate concern” on a proposed 4,000sq.m expansion of the Qrendi fireworks factory on agricultural land.

The Superintendence warned that the extension would result in the “intensification and proliferation of development” outside development zones, which would “negatively impact the cultural landscape”.

The Superintendence is recommending that the proposal is redirected towards areas which are already disturbed.

As proposed the application is proposing an expansion of the factory in two directions: a southern expansion of five new workshops 400m from the Blue Grotto and just 100m from a buffer zone for the coastal cliffs – this area is generally free from any development; and a north-easternly extension for an office, restrooms, an open work-shed and black powder stores, on land that already includes a pathway but is 250m away from the protected Maqluba sinkhole.

A number of farmers tilling land in the area are calling for precautionary measures, including blast-proof boundary walls of a certain height, and an adequate buffer zone between any new structure and their boundary walls.

Another farmer also called for an assessment of the visual impact due to the slope of the terrain.

A policy approved in 2014 permits the expansion of existing fireworks factories but requires previous clearance by “ad hoc technical committee” which addresses safety issues. The policy also allows the erection of brand-new factories on dry agricultural land.