The Valletta 2018 Foundation is appealing for the removal of billboards from St James Ditch in Valletta, which is considered national heritage.

Addressing journalist at a press conference earlier today, Valletta 2018 Chairman Jason Micallef said, “National heritage pollution is no longer acceptable. I’m appealing to the parties in Government and in Opposition, as well as the Culture Ministry and MEPA, to make all possible effort, without delay, to stop these eyesores and remove all billboards from the entrance to Valletta and in front of Valletta’s scenic fortifications which were built 450 year ago.”

He compared the site, which also includes the bastions and the Gardjola, with other historic places such as the Colosseum in Rome, the British House of Commons and other similar monuments. He explained that these cities would never consider placing billboards in these areas. Mr Micallef noted positively that the previous government invested millions of euros in the restoration of fortifications which now cannot be enjoyed.

The billboards are placed exactly in front of the viewpoint for the Prospettiva installation, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister two years ago. This installation was commissioned by the Valletta 2018 Foundation to symbolise the beginning of the journey towards the year 2018. Today, the view at Prospettiva is being obstructed by one of these billboards.

The Valletta 2018 Foundation, which is responsible for the European Capital of Culture title for the year 2018, cannot remain silent in relation to the defence of national heritage. Discussions with Transport Malta yielded positive results, as another billboard which was also erected in this place, was successfully removed. However, the other two should also be removed.

Mr Micallef also appealed for a change in attitude that public spaces could be allowed to be polluted in this way.