The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) is the authority set up by the Development Planning Act to:
- Promote proper planning and sustainable development of land and at sea, both public and private;
- Control such development in accordance with development plans and planning policies approved in terms of the local legislation;
- Carry our national mapping and land surveys of specific areas;
- Regulated the alignment and levelling schemes and their interpretation on site.
The MEPA is responsible for development control and in most cases a development permission issued by the Authority is required. For the purposes of the Development Planning Act, the term ‘development’ is not limited to the processes that are normally associated with development, such as building, engineering, quarrying or the making of alterations but it extends even to certain material change in use of land or building.
The Development Planning Act also provides for various statutory offences, namely:
- where development is carried out without a development permission as required by law or if it falls foul of any condition,
- restriction or other limitation which such permission may be subject to
- where it is served with an enforcement notice and fails to comply timely with the requirement of such notice
- where a person makes a declaration which is false, misleading or incorrect in any material respect
In addition, the MEPA is also the Competent Authority under the Environment Protection Act where its functions include the issuing of licenses or permits as required by law under the conditions necessary in order to control and manage activities having an impact on the environment, and the establishment of threshold levels of discharge from activities involving products, substances and the production or use of energy.