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United to save trees dating back to the Knights’ era

Photo: Newsbook.com.mt

Residents of the town of Dingli and activists have filed all the necessary paperwork, to save centuries-old trees, which Infrastructure Malta intends to cut down, to make way for a new road. More than 100 people have endorsed a bid to obtain an urgent Tree Protection Order for the trees, which, according to activists are hundreds of years old.

Activist group Moviment Graffiti said that a nature permit to chop down the trees in question, was issued a few months back, to make way for a road right throughout outside development zone arable land. The aim is for the new road to link Daħla tas-Sienja with Sqaq il-Museum. However, direct action by residents, activists and farmers helped put a temporary stop to the works.

100 people have signed their support for the Tree Protection Order, which would in turn, designate the zone as a Tree Preservation Area, since the trees and the area meet a number of criteria, necessary for protection.

Here is the list of criteria, put forth by activists:

  • Firstly, the trees are well over 300 years old and were planted during the times of the Knights of St John

  • Secondly, they lie adjacent to ODZ arable fields and provide essential nutrients to the soil where crops are grown

  • Their extensive root system contributes to reducing soil erosion, essential for the nearby fields

  • There are numerous boreholes dug hundreds of years ago, which are entwined with the tree roots under the soil and are still used to water fields. These would be in danger of irreparable damage if the trees were to be destroyed

  • They provide much-needed wind cover for nearby fields

  • The biodiversity that has evolved can never be replaced by planting young trees as compensation

  • The trees are next to a Scheduled Grade 1 church from the 1500s, making them culturally and historically significant

  • They represent one of the very few remaining wooded areas within Dingli, a rural village which is becoming increasingly urbanised. They also provide shade, shelter, and more to all the people who work and live in the area

The activist group said that many entitles have come out against the destruction of the trees, with several NGOs saying that the “project goes against the aims of the rural policy since it threatens farmers’ livelihood.”

Let’s get this movement stopped!