Will Malta have any countryside left in 100 years?

It dawned on me that many Maltese people, yet alone bloggers such as Muddy Boots, are worried that in 100 years time or less, there will be no countryside left on the island. It also struck me that we worry about the same thing here in the UK and how new housing developments seem to sweep from one corner of the country to the next. So it must be of huge concern to the Maltese and I can understand their plight, especially given the fact, Malta is tiny, minuscule even compare to the British Isles.

Malta is a beautiful island and indeed are it’s neighbours but when will the development there stop? It doesn’t put us off going, far from it but it is all a little bit too scary – maybe more noticeable to a foreigner like myself?

I enjoyed reading the following blog post anyway…


11 thoughts on “Will Malta have any countryside left in 100 years?

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  1. Tamara and I were talking about this in the context of the UK. I remember the village near where I lived in Norfolk was ‘invaded’ by a development of bungalows. Everybody needs somewhere to live. It’s a problem.


    1. We do and new homes do need to be built. I think perhaps drawing comparisons between two very different sized countries was a risky thing to do but everywhere should surely keep some countryside?

      It would take centuries to fill up the UK and cover every square inch but where Malta is concerned, people seem very uneasy about development.

      Demand outstrips supply I guess?


      1. Hi Nick, glad you enjoyed my blog post! As you point out, Malta is rather particular because of its small size and consistent urban sprawl and new developments in recent years. The situation is rather complicated, of course, but it’s not just a demand issue. There are many vacant properties; some are simply summer residences, some were built when older (and bigger) homes were torn down and replaced with flats, and remain unsold or at least unused. Contentiously, there have been recently authorised developments on land marked by our planning agency as ‘outside development zone’. Etc.


      2. I must explain why it is something I am passionate about. I have only recently “discovered” Malta and fell in love with it, so did my wife, my brother and his wife. They have in fact moved there, he has a great blog too that you may like. My Parents recently visited for the first time ever and they loved it too. So it has a special place in our hearts. I can see why there is an issue, as people like my Wife and I for example have been toying with buying a property there sometime in the future.

        What if we did? What if it were a new build that was only occupied part of the year?

        As you say, many other people do the same and would you say properties on the island are becoming more expensive?


      3. It makes me smile to read this. I find Malta to be at once frustratingly infuriating and in so many ways enjoyable / lovable. I can see why you all fell in love with it 🙂 And it’s beautiful to see your concern for how your choices could affect things. But don’t think it’s just non-residents buying property here that’s the cause. Many locals have a summer residence, particularly in areas like St Paul’s Bay / Buġibba / Qawra, Xemxija, etc. Half the year they live there, half the year in their principal home. It’s only a problem if the scale is too big – that is if too many people do that. Same thing with non-residents buying property here. If there’s not too many, it’s not a big problem. Particularly if they visit often. Personally, I am more concerned about regular residences that remain unsold, for the very simple reason that it makes economic sense for a developer to hold on to a property until they get the price they want. The tax structure on property doesn’t help things.

        I can’t say whether property is getting more expensive. The property market isn’t exactly fast-moving here, with no reason for people to move just because of geography (ie jobs). Most only buy property when they move out of their parents’ home (often when they get married), and perhaps once later on as an upgrade. Many don’t even do that upgrade. For obvious reasons it’s not really a free market either, particularly in such a small country.


  2. In Scotland, people have a right to roam. There are restrictions on walking and camping near dwellings but excepting that, they can walk more or less where they want.

    In England, the thing that struck me was how people are divorced from the countryside. Except in National Parks and on footpaths, they cannot walk where they want and therefore they don’t ‘know’ the countryside.

    So the fight to preserve the countryside is lost because people don’t see the destruction. Of course, a lot of it is hidden – and we only see the results from reports of loss of species.


    1. That is an interesting point, never realised there is such a difference? Is it down to ancient bye-law in this country? We do have large areas of un-developed land still. Take for example Kent, we found it to be very rural, more so than where we live. Mind you, a lot of the land is farmed for Hops, Fruit and so on, which means, it is not free to roam!!


      1. Yes, that’s the thing – a lot of the law for England dates back to the Enclosure Acts in the 17th and 18th centuries. And maybe part of the reason for the difference in Scotland is that the land is ‘unproductive’ (haha) – as well as Scotland being a separate country.
        When we lived in Chichester we used to drive out to near Slindon and walk in the woods there – absolutely loved it. And the land is so much gentler in the South, as is the weather.


      2. I can recall you talking about Slindon – did you ever meet Ralph the “pumpkin man”? Sadly he died (tender age 0f 93) a few years ago but I did a press photography call there a long time ago – I may even have a blog post here on him…


      3. How bizarre, small world. Ralph Upton?? I think was his name?? His Son has taken over now and they are carrying on the tradition. I used to do gigs for Farmers Guardian and their weekly magazine supplement, until they sadly discontinued it. I used to get some great commissions through them, they paid a really good rate and covered my travel expenses too.


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