Abu Dhabi amends laws protecting appearance of emirate

Fines to be enforced directly by municipalities under updated legislation

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – March 5, 2008:  Satellite dishes in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Ryan Carter / ADMC) *** Local Caption *** RC005-SatelliteDish.jpgBZ14OC_Fox.jpg
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Abu Dhabi has revised legislation aimed at safeguarding the appearance of the emirate and offered greater flexibility of the payment of fines to help keep cases out of court.

The Department of Municipalities and Transport said the updated laws will protect the rights of those accused of certain offences by allowing them to appeal the penalties imposed.

It will also enable authorities to take direct action against those carrying out acts such as vandalism and fly-tipping, granting them powers to issue fines rather than transferring decision-making to public prosecutors.

The procedures are in line with the General Appearance Law of 2012, which prohibits any activity adversely affecting the "appearance, cultural, architectural or aesthetic features of public areas in the emirate", the department said.

This covers green spaces, walkways, buildings, marketplaces and public roads, as well as causing noise or disturbance.

In April last year, The National reported how vandals had defaced an ancient rock formation in the Abu Dhabi desert in a “sad and shocking act of disrespect”.

Volunteers attending a clean-up event at the Fossil Dunes site in Al Wathba discovered graffiti spray-painted on one of the stones and messages carved into it.

The decade-old law has also been used to boost efforts to reduce the prevalence of dirty cars left unattended in public view.

Fines of up to Dh3,000 ($816) have previously been administered to motorists who have failed to keep their vehicles clean.

Law updated to protect rights and improve efficiency

The amendments to the law allow for fines to be enforced directly by municipality departments rather than being referred to prosecutors.

They offer flexibility in determining the amount, depending on the severity of the offence.

A 25 per cent discount on fines can be offered if the fine is paid within 60 days.

The amended law also allows for any infraction — such as items dumped in an area — to be removed and cleaned by the offender in a stipulated time.

If they do not do so, they must bear the removal or clean-up costs.

Falah Al Ahbabi, chairman of DMT, said: “The amended General Appearance Law provides clear direction for DMT to implement the stipulations set for protecting the appearance of the emirate and to monitor and control irregularities.

“Today, the new amendment represents a crucial step that directly contributes to the lives of Abu Dhabi residents and improves their ability to accomplish their aspirations in all aspects of life."

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Updated: July 12, 2022, 1:10 PM