Two new ministerial decrees regarding dredged sediment management were recently published in the Official Gazette: Ministerial Decree 172/2016 on the methods and technical standards for dredging operations in remediation sites of national interest and Ministerial Decree 173/2016 establishing the procedures and technical criteria for the disposal of dredged materials at sea.
The Council of Ministers recently approved a new regulation on uncontaminated soil and other naturally occurring material excavated in the course of construction activities. Under the regulation, different rules will apply depending on whether the soil and material will be used on the site where they were excavated or elsewhere.
During the past two decades, the precautionary principle has played a major role in shaping Italian environmental and safety policies which influence industry requirements. The precautionary principle requires that some action be taken to handle serious and identified environmental risks, and recent Constitutional Court and High Administrative Court decisions have addressed the problem of how to establish the level of environmental protection required.
Following a request for a preliminary ruling by an Italian administrative court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has declared invalid the maximum annual free allowances for greenhouse gas emissions set out in European Commission Decision 448/2013. The ECJ pointed out that the different language versions of the relevant provision establishing how the maximum annual amount of allowances should be calculated were inconsistent.
Decree-Law 105/2015 recently transposed the Seveso III Directive into Italian law. The decree-law makes no substantive changes to existing rules; instead, it aims to improve their coherence and clarity and improve coordination with EU legislation. The changes introduced include updating the list of chemicals covered by the directive and strengthening the rights of citizens to access information.
The Chamber of Deputies recently approved a package of measures promoting the green economy and the use of natural resources. The law contains rules promoting recycling and the reduction of waste. The re-use, reparation and exchange of goods are also encouraged, and companies which produce, market and sell or purchase goods made with recycled materials could receive government subsidies.
The Council of State recently made a clear stand regarding the duties of an owner of contaminated land that is not responsible for the pollution. The judgment focused on the case of a landowner who conducted commercial activities on contaminated land. The court affirmed that the liability of a landowner in this context cannot be based solely on its ownership, as the pollution cannot be attributed to that party for its individual actions or on the basis of objective criteria.