Strategic Plan Details

Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development

Approval date 01-07-2015

1. Background

The Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED), which was approved by Parliament in July 2015, is the official recognised document which addresses the spatial issues for the Maltese Islands in the coming years.

The SPED, which has replaced the 1990 Structure Plan for the Maltese Islands, is based on an integrated planning system that regulates the sustainable use and management of land and sea resources. This shift in the way strategic planning is carried out in the Maltese Islands from traditional land use planning to a more holistic spatial planning approach emerges from the Environment and Development Planning Act (EDPA) of 2010.    
The Plan provides a strategic spatial policy framework for both the environment and development up to 2020, complimenting Government’s social, economic and environmental objectives direction for the same period.
The SPED is based on an integrated planning system which:

(i)  ensures the sustainable management of land and sea resources together with the protection of the environment; and

(ii) guides the development and use of land and sea space.

Through the adoption of the SPED:

• plans, policies and programmes issued under the EDPA are spatial, holistic and comprehensive so that all factors in relation to land and sea resources and related environment conservation are addressed and included and to balance demands for development with socio-economic consideration and the need to protect the environment;
• sectoral policies, activities and inputs are interpreted and coordinated with each other combining the inputs of all disciplines and groups;
• all actions are based on clear understanding of the natural and legitimate objectives and needs of individual land users; and
• it follows other national policies and plans.

The SPED ensures that the preparation of sectoral plans is in line with the thrust of the Territorial Agenda which has the aim of ensuring implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy according to territorial cohesion principles, where the internalisation of spatial influences is an integral part of sectoral plan formulation. In addition, the SPED provides the spatial framework that supports the development of an integrated maritime policy at a national level.

The SPED covers up to the extent of 25 nautical mile limit of the Fisheries Conservation Zone (adopted by Council Regulation EC No. 1967/2006).

In the first quarter of 2014, the Plan was issued for a 12 week public consultation period.  In February 2011, a review of national policy documents coupled with  a consultation exercise with Ministries and Government entities and input from the Structure Plan Review process resulted in the formulation of objectives that the SPED must address. In April 2013, a review of the strategic thrusts of the Plan was undertaken to ensure that the SPED was in line with Government Policy. This resulted in a extensive consultation exercise with Government Ministries culminating in the preparation of a Strategic Plan for Environment and Development.

During the preparation of the SPED due regard had to be given to:

• the economic policies affecting development;
• the social policies affecting development;
• the environment policies affecting development;
• the policies of the Government with respect to the matters set out in sub-article(5) of the EDPA;
• the resources likely to be available for the implementation of the plan; and
• all possible land and sea-use options in selecting the best use for a given area of land or sea.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

The SPED was  identified as requiring a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) as per Regulation 4(2)(a) of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Regulations (Legal Notice 497 of 2010).

An SEA was carried out for the SPED as per the provisions of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Regulations L.N. 497 of 2010, as published in the Government Gazette.

The Authority is is publishing the  the Environment Report for the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) of the SPED. This Environmental Report explains the SEA framework and methodology, elaborates on the environmental baseline, describes the assessment of the environmental impacts of alternative strategies and the chosen option and identifies the monitoring requirements. 

2. Documents