Environmental Assessments and Authorizations: SEA - EIA - IPPC Permit

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Judgement of the Puglia Regional Administrative Tribunal of the 20th November, 2014 concerning the protection of the environment and the breakdown of responsibilities between State and Regions



The Judgment of the Puglia Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR), Sec. 1st - November 20th , 2014 n. 2833 has reiterated the principle, already established many times by the Constitutional Court, according to which the legislative competence regarding the environmental protection "while being often inextricably linked with other regional interests and shared competences (judgment n. 32, 2006), falls within the exclusive responsibility of the State "(Art. 117, second paragraph, letter s, Italian Constitution.).

In this specific case, the Puglia TAR raises and refers to the Constitutional Court the matter concerning the constitutionality of art. 2 of Puglia Regional Law n. 17/2007 which provides three years for the validity of the EIA screening determination, in contrast with the requirements of Articles 20 and 26 of the Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 which provide that a project subject to environmental assessment shall be implemented within a period of five years.

It should be emphasized that the regional provision that reduces the validity of the EIA decision is in contrast with the Article 117 of the Italian Constitution as well as with the Legislative Decree no. 152/2006, setting up a serious violation to a specific environmental protection standard identified by the national legislation.

The “environment" is such a complex asset that must be subject to organic and homogeneous dispositions throughout the national territory which are reserved to the State in order to ensure a high level of protection and are mandatory by other specific laws.

This implies that the environmental provisions resulting from the exercise of an exclusive competence of the State and concerning the environment as a whole, establish a limit for the legislation of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, which can not in any way derogate from or worsen the level of environmental protection established by the State.

The judgment also sets out other interesting considerations with regard to the assessment of cumulative impacts of the projects.

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