The Energy and Environment Committee serves as a contact point between enterprises and institutions, is a hub for discussion, monitoring of the various environment related legislation, assists members on environment issues, provides updates and implementation guidelines for local and international environment legislation, provides assistance in identifying EU programmes and local funding schemes and opportunities for enterprise. Priority areas include: packaging, alternative sources of energy, waste management, recycling and recovery, water minimization, wastewater treatment, waste prevention sustainable Management and utilization of natural resources, and sustainable construction and demolition.
For further information please contact Mr Andre Fenech on email@example.com.
Perit David Xuereb - Chairman
Mr. Godwin Micallef
Mr. Adrian Mallia
Ing.Carmel J. Cuschieri
Mr. Mario Duca
Mr. Benjamin Farrugia
Mr. Adrian Vigar
Ing. Mario Schembri
Mr. Martin Debono
Mr. Andre Fenech
Ms Marylyn Hili
Meeting with Mr. Marc Adams and Dr. Ing. Christopher CauchiMeeting Cauchi
On 9th October, the Energy and Environment Committee of the Malta Chamber met with Dr. Ing. Christopher Ciantar, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, and Mr. Marc Adams, Director of Interregional Packaging in Belgium.
Mr. Adams gave an overview of the packaging waste management legislative system and the set up of the recovery of such waste in Belgium. He explained that this was controlled by an inter-regional law which was valid for the entire Belgian territory. He further mentioned that Belgium had one waste recovery scheme for household packaging waste and another for packing waste originating from industry.
Mr. Adams said that with regards to businesses, few were self-compliant and these companies usually produced a specific type of waste packaging. Belgium was one of the most efficient countries in Europe with regards to the recovery and recycling of waste and Dr. Ciantar emphasised that it is important for Malta to emulate any best practices which countries like Belgium had to offer in the sector. Dr. Ciantar also said that these types of examples needed to be cascaded down to the Malta Chamber members through an event later on during the year.
For further information please contact Marylyn Hili on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting with Wasteserv
The Malta Chamber Energy and Environment Committee met with Dr. Ing Christopher Ciantar, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, Perit Benny Farrugia Chairman of Wasteserv and Ing. Saviour Abela Wasteserv CEO. The meeting was set up with the intention of having an open dialogue on the current state of the waste management sector in Malta and mainly featured a discussion on issues such as hazardous waste, landfill gate fees, competition in the local waste management sector and the local scenario on energy from waste. At the end of the meeting Wasteserv agreed to hold more frequent follow up meetings with private operators in order to keep them informed of any developments in policy in the sector.
Meeting about Strategic Plan for Environmental and Development
On 16th April the Malta Chamber’s Energy and Environment Committee led by Chairman Perit David Xuereb, held a meeting with MEPA officials to discuss the consultation document on the Strategic Plan for Environmental and Development (SPED). It was explained that the document includes the key issues for the sustainable management of land and sea resources, together with their spatial implications. It also includes a spatial vision for the Maltese Islands and outlines the Government’s objectives aimed to address the identified issues in line with the spatial vision.
Ms. Michelle Borg, representing the Ministry for Tourism, Culture and the Environment delivered a presentation on the Government’s strategic objectives. In essence, these objectives aim to promote sustainable human settlement development with the overall objective to improve the social, economic and environmental quality of human settlements. Ms. Borg explained that an integrated approach needs to be achieved which should facilitate appropriate choices to maximise sustainable productivity and use. These objectives will also work with the current Government policies and a more coordinated approach, in terms of linking policies together will be given priority. Following the presentation, the Committee put forward their concerns and recommendations, which were taken as part of the consultation feedback.
The document can also be downloaded from the following link: https://www.mepa.org.mt/sped
For more information about this document, you may contact the Malta Chamber’s Policy Development Manager,
Mr Andre Fenech on tel. no. 22032312 or e-mail address email@example.com
Consultative meetings about the National Environment Policy and Green Public Procurement
A delegation of the Malta Chamber's Energy and Environment Committee (EEC) met with the Hon. Dr Mario De Marco, Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, the Environment and Culture and other Government officials to discuss the draft document for a National Environment Policy published last September. During the meeting officials from the Office of the Prime Minister explained the main aims of the document and all its major initiatives.
In general terms, the Committee representatives expressed the need to have measurable targets for each and every initiative mentioned and the Government's role in the sector as regulator not as a player in the market. The Committee also stated the importance of promoting the Green Industry, and added that the Malta Chamber was in a position to assist Government in achieving several of its set goals and would be able to help with the implementation. Following this meeting, it was agreed that the Malta Chamber would be compiling a number of written recommendations to this document.
A few days later, a second Malta Chamber EEC delegation met OPM officials to discuss the National Action Plan for the introduction of Green Public Procurement which will lead to the application of environmental standards in the public procurement of goods, works and services. Following the discussion, it was agreed that an information meeting about the changes proposed by this action plan for private suppliers would be organised by the Malta Chamber in the coming weeks.
For further information on these topics kindly contact the Malta Chamber's Policy Development Manager, Mr Andre Fenech on firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel no. 22032312.
Meeting with TECOM Investments
Chairman of the Malta Chamber Energy and Environment Committee, Perit David Xuereb and Policy Development Manager, Mr. Andre Fenech met Mr. Sougata Nandi, Executive Director, Asset Management and Sustainable Development at TECOM Investments, on the 5th of April. Accompanying Mr. Nandi, were Ing. Joe Danastas, Facilities and Infrastructure Manager at SmartCity and Mr. Richard Mifsud , PR Manager at JP Advertising.
The purpose of this meeting was for Mr. Nandi to get acquainted with the Malta Chamber's activities in energy and environment areas. Mr. Nandi delivered a presentation regarding the sustainable methods being used to build the SmartCity project in Malta. He explained that every care is being taken to incorporate Green Building methods, conservation of electricity and water and use of renewable energies within the whole project.
During the meeting, Perit Xuereb confirmed that the Malta Chamber and the business community would be interested in learning more about the methods being applied within this project and that sustainable buildings were the future for the country. It was further agreed that both sides would begin cooperating in the field of sustainable development and that in the coming months a delegation of the Malta Chamber would be visiting the SmartCity project to learn more about the technologies applied.
Consultation meeting on the amendments to the Waste Packaging Regulations
The Malta Chamber Energy and Environment Committee in collaboration with GreenPak (a MEPA authorised waste management scheme), held a consultation meeting on Tuesday 15th of March for interested companies in Malta which fall under the obligations of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.
The meeting was held to inform those attending of the new amendments in Annex I of the Directive, which will become legally-binding and moreover, which will have to be implemented by the 27 Member States into national law by not later than the end of 2011. The meeting was chaired by Perit David Xuereb and addressed by Ing. Mario Schembri, CEO at GreenPak.
The audience were then addressed by Daniel Tabone, Operations Manager at GreenPak, who explained the definition of packaging and further illustrated examples of application of the criteria listed in the amending Annex. Those materials which are not classified as packaging were also highlighted. Following the presentation, those were given the opportunity to express their concerns, which were addressed by Ing. Mario Schembri, Mr Andre Fenech, Malta Chamber Policy Development Manager and MEPA officials present for this session.
Diploma in Green Energy Technologies
The Energy and Environment Committee, the Renewable Energy Association Malta (REAM) and the MCAST Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering have in the last months collaborated to develop a course in the area of renewable energy. The main objective of such meetings was to put forward the concerns of members operating in this sector in terms of skill shortages and gaps in the sector, and develop a qualification that addresses such shortcomings in the labour market.
For further details, kindly view the Course Overview.
Air Quality Workshop
The Malta Chamber's Energy and Environment Committee organised a workshop in coordination with the Malta Environment and Planning Authority on the transposition of Directive 2008/50/EC on air quality, on 9th June.
Mr Mark Scerri, Environment Protection Officer within the Environment Protection Division explained that this Directive consolidates four directives that are already in force, including the ambient air quality assessment directive and Directive 2000/69/EC relating to benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air.
Amongst the new features being proposed are that Industrial combustion plants (such as boilers) falling outside the scope of the large combustion plants regulations (less than 50 MW thermal input) will be subject to regulation and permitting. It was also explained that these thresholds were still up for discussion and the authority was willing to consult with the operators making use of such plants to see whether the thresholds being proposed were not in conformity with the manufacturers’ specifications.
According to the draft law, major development projects shall not exceed the limit values and industrial combustion plants subject to the permitting requirements will have to comply with emission limit values. Industrial combustion plants commissioned prior to the coming into force of these regulations will be required to prove that emissions levels are as per manufacturers specifications and will be given until 2018 to comply with the emission limit values. Following this date all plants that do not comply will be decommissioned. If the compliance with manufacturer specifications is unachievable the plant will be de-comissioned by 2015.
Further to the above plants will not be allowed to use fuel having a sulphur content higher than 1% m/m for heavy fuel oils (HFO) or 0.1 m/m for gasoil. The use of fuels other than those for which the equipment was specifically designed will be prohibited.
Mr Scerri also explained that following consultation with Malta Enterprise it was noted that there could be opportunities for operators to access funding for such investment if applicants can show that there would be a shift to cleaner production technologies. These applications could be eligible under the ERDF Innovation Grant scheme (Environment) as long as the investments fall under the definition of new investment as set by EU regulations.
MEPA officials explained that the draft law will be published in the coming weeks and that there would be a six week consultation period.
For further information on this subject you are kindly asked to contact the Malta Chamber's Policy Development Manager, Mr Andre Fenech, on the e-mail address email@example.com or on tel. no. 21 233 873.
Waste Management Strategy
During the months of February and March, a number of committee members assisted by the secretariat met on several occasion to discuss the Government's update of the waste management strategy. During the beginning of 2009, the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs launched a consultation on the first update of the ‘Solid Waste Management Strategy for the Maltese Islands'.
In its submissions, the EEC stated that the country has indeed made improvements in waste management during the last decade, especially when one compares it to the situation it was in the late 90s. In fact, following the publication in 2001 of the Solid Waste Management Strategy, there had been a considerable improvement in the country's infrastructure, as well as the huge investments the sector has undergone during the past years such as the redevelopment of the Sant Antnin Waste Treatment plant and the introduction of bring-in and Civic Amenity sites.
Nevertheless, the most important failure of the new draft strategy was the fact that the 2001 document put forward a number of recommendations with specific measurable targets and completion dates, whilst no review of such results has been presented in the current paper. Thus, there was no baseline on which one could establish developments in this sector. A press release was also issued explaining the committee's reasoning behind the issues raised in its submission.
During the summer months the EEC, in collaboration with Wasteserv Malta Ltd and the Malta Environment and Planning Authority held an information session on the legal obligations on hazardous waste, the facilities available to treat such waste locally, and the various procedures which a company needs to follow.
Following the presentations, members present asked numerous questions in relation to the Incinerator and its commissioning and capacity. Various Pharmaceutical companies stated that export of such waste was not viable due to high costs and explained that these companies are sitting on a time bomb in view of the huge amounts they had been stockpiling during the past years. They explained that this went against EU regulations but no alternative to export was being offered to them. MEPA officials said that they would be willing to discuss this matter further but companies had to understand that until the incinerator was functioning properly and until all necessary requirements were met the authority had to be more stringent than usual.
Officials from Wasteserv concluded that they would be willing to see whether any types of hazardous waste could be treated but this had to be done on a case by case basis. Further to this, several meeting between Wasteserv and the pharmaceutical business section were held to solve the deadlock. At the time of writing the situation was still ongoing.
During the summer months, the Government launched a consultation entitled the assessment of the cost impact resulting from the proposed increase in fees relating to increment of land filling fees at the Engineered landfill.
The present situation was that waste collectors could dispose of any type of waste (unless it is hazardous or seperated waste) in the Ta' Zwejra Landfill at a cost of 0.77 cents per ton. The Government was obliged by the Waste Framework Directive to be transparent in its costings, and decided to implement the proposed fee structure, namely increase the current fee to 20 euros per ton for the disposal of mixed waste. This fee would eventually increase to be more representative of the actual cost. The Government's justification behind this increase was that the current fees were far less than the authorities' cost for landfilling, implying that higher landfill fees should encourage reduced waste generation and it should also encourage higher waste separation and eventual recycling.
Following various complaints by its members, the Malta Chamber through the EEC sent an official letter to the MRRA asking for clarification on the matter. In September and October 2009 meetings were held with Minister Pullicino and representatives of the Ministry of Finance and WasteServ, where this matter was further discussed. The EEC also prepared a paper for consultation.
The consultation was further delayed due to the publishing of draft Legal Notices on eco contribution refunds and exemptions. The EEC's position was as follows:
- The Malta Chamber agreed that the current situation was unsustainable but nevertheless these increases should be introduced in a staggered manner
- An educational campaign should commence with the authorities on the importance for business to separate its waste
During the month of November the EEC held a meeting with Mr David Spiteri Gingell on the climate change document. The meeting was very informative as Mr Spiteri Gingell outlined all the main objectives and suggestions the national Climate Change working group had proposed to the authorities.
During the second quarter of 2009, the EEC, assisted by Mr Andre Fenech drafted its submissions on the Government's proposal for an energy policy in Malta. The submissions included such diverse issues as energy conservation, efficiency in electricity generation and distribution, reducing Malta's reliance on imported fuels, renewable sources of energy, stability in energy supply, the importance of diversification and the importance of interconnectivity to Europe's energy grid amongst others. This position paper was later submitted to the MRRA during the consultation period.
The EEC was very vocal during the early months of the year on the introduction of eco contribution all plastic carrier bags. In fact several meeting were held with the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs, the VAT department and the Ministry of Finance on this matter. The EEC also held meetings with several operators in the production and importation of carrier to gauge their position on the situation.
As a general principle the EEC was of the belief that the eco-contribution, as it had been implemented originally was ill-conceived and businesses and operators alike were still suffering from the lack of enforcement of this measure by the competent authorities. This had in fact resulted in an unlevel playing field for the operators involved. The EEC was of the opinion that the Authorities had a duty towards society at large to protect the sustainable development of our environment but these measures should be correct and enforceable.
The Malta Chamber, through the EEC, further commented that the way the system has been implemented contained a number of loopholes putting undue hardships on several operators in the market including major retailers that import carrier bags directly.
Main Stakeholder Meetings
The Chairman, Arch. David Xuereb organized a number of meetings with the Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs, the Hon. George Pullicino and Mr Leo Brincat, the main spokesperson of the Opposition. During November 2009 the EEC Chairman together with the Malta Chamber Board of Management organised an informal lunch meeting with Minister Pullicino to discuss the environmental issues which were currently affecting business. Present for this meeting was also the Permanent Secretary of the MRRA Ing. Christopher Ciantar.
A sensitive issue raised was the revision in landfill fees. The potential impact of sudden and drastic increases on industry and business was discussed. The Malta Chamber stated that the present fee structure was unsustainable but in the current climate, any revisions made must be gradual. Unnecessary shocks to business need to be avoided at the best of times. Furthermore, the increase in fees, needs to coincide with the solving of issues that are acting as a disincentive to companies to join private waste management schemes. This would encourage better waste separation. In turn, this would lead to a negligible effect of new landfill fees because the revision contemplates increases for mixed waste and savings for separated waste.
Following this meeting the Chairman accompanied by Director General Ing Ray Muscat and Mr Andre Fenech held a meeting with Mr Leo Brincat. Mr Brincat welcomed the proactive stance the Malta Chamber was taking in this area and said that further cooperation was needed between all stakeholders involved. Arch. Xuereb agreed that the EEC would gladly accept any invites from the Opposition to contribute to a constructive discussion on Environment issues which impacted business.
During the last quarter of the year and the beginning of 2010, the EEC delved into the matter of water management policy and the importance of this resource sustainability.
Several meetings were held with various stakeholders including local water expert, Ing Marco Cremona and foreign geologist Dr Gordon Knox who has been looking at the groundwater situation of Malta for the past decade. Ing Cremona and Dr Knox explained that the current situation was unsustainable with several sectors of society extracting groundwater illegally. They explained that the biggest users of water were the agricultural sector and households, and that current extraction was estimated to be anything between 30 million cubic meters and 35 million cubic meters. These estimates included the Water Services Corporation legal extraction and estimates of extraction from illegal boreholes by private individuals. They further explained that the MRA was not enforcing the rules on illegal extraction and the situation was becoming critical.
During the beginning of 2010 a delegation made up of the EEC Chairman Perit David Xuereb, Mr Mario Duca (committee member), Director General Ing Ray Muscat and EEC coordinator Mr Andre Fenech, met with a number of officials from the Malta Resources Authority to discuss this matter further. The MRA officials explained that the situation being depicted in the media was not realistic of the data and information the authority had.
It was agreed that more activities would be undertaken on this matter and that both the EEC and the MRA would coordinate actions to access data from companies on water consumption.
Restructuring of the committee
During the last months, the EEC committee members decided to restructure the formation to become more efficient in the way the committee tackled matters. All committee members would still meet if there were national issues which impacted the general membership. From December 2009, the committee created three sub-groups on the following themes which the committee considered as being most urgent:
- Water Resources Management,
- Renewable Energy and Energy efficiency
- Waste management