New ‘Grey to green’ scheme introduced; ‘Irrestawra Darek’ refunded!

Aaron Farrugia, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning is launching a ‘Grey to Green’ scheme, a €2 million program dedicated to assisting local homeowners in greening up the exteriors of their homes.

Aaron introduced this scheme this Wednesday, but we still don’t have details in relation to what the project will involve and cover. Our assumption is that the scheme will be helping locals install vertical gardens on their house’s exterior walls. We don’t know whether this initiative will be extended to rooftop green systems.

Aaron revealed that the ‘Irrestawra Darek’ scheme will also be restarted with a £3 million investment. The ‘Irrestawra Darek’ scheme is aimed for private owners of residences located within an Urban Conservation Area who wish to carry out restoration and maintenance works on the façade of their old property.

For more information on the ‘Irrestawra Darek’ program, call at 2290 1551 or send an email addressed to [email protected]. It’s important to note that everytime this scheme is launched, it tends to get taken up within an hour, so we highly recommend keeping a close eye on its development.

The applications for both schemes will open on January 1st. The eligibility criteria will be published in the coming weeks. Aside from the aforementioned investments, the environment minister indicated that the government will be announcing a number of other initiatives under the concept of ‘Green Your Life’.

“We have grown used to looking at just grey, when we could use a lot more green, and this is one way we can change it. These schemes are part of an ecological transition which our country is going through at the moment.” The Environment minister explained.

“Not only do we want to continue to regulate environmental concerns and promote afforestation; now, we are also looking at our immediate urban environment.” 

“This is part of the ecological transition that our country is going through. Our approach is a different one, where we are not only continuing our work on environment regulation, afforestation projects, and biodiversity protection in rural zones, but we have also begun looking at urban zones with the aim of improving the quality of life of all. I believe the time has come to improve the environment we live in every day and spend the most time in; our homes, our workplace, our schools, and the roads we pass from every day. Our urban areas should be greener, and we should plan in a way that it is beneficial for our wellbeing, but also necessary for sustainable planning for the future,” Minister Farrugia elaborated.

Under the minister’s direction, the Intelligent Planning Consultative Forum prepared a paper on green walls and green roofs, outlining the importance of both for a greener and environmental Malta. Aaron highlighted the many benefits of greener areas, from its positive impact on our mental well-being, pollination, absorption of carbon dioxide, to the reduction of household temperatures, flooding, and pathogens.

“There is substantial evidence that people feel more responsible for the environment they live in if it is a green one,” Farrugia concluded.

Many commentators praised Aaron Farrugia for the initiative, but pointed out their dismay at the inconsistency and contradictory moves displayed by the different ministries, highlighting the hand-over of the Miżieb Woodlands to the hunting lobby as well as the escalation of approvals of questionable building permits both in Malta and Gozo.

A staggering body of data illustrates the many benefits of green systems, whether they takes the form of a vertical wall garden or a rooftop system. From reducing household expenditure and bills, dramatically improving our mental health, to reducing the risks of disease, greening up is essential to good urban living. In this article, we look at the data and talk about Viva-City, a local company which provides, installs and maintains affordable green systems on walls and rooftops.

If you’re more interested in how we can improve the appearance of our streetscapes and fades, you may want to take a look at this article.