[Publication Date: June 2019]

The Clean Air Dialogue, an event organised by the Ministry of the Environment on request of the European Commissioner for the Environment, Karmenu Vella, took place in Turin from 4-5 June. The Clean Air Dialogue is a structured bilateral dialogue, provided for in the Clean Air Policy Package (the package of air quality measures adopted by the European Commission in 2013), which aims to promote the collaborative approach needed to implement actions to improve air quality and reduce air pollution. The intention is to foster dialogue not only between the European Commission and the Government of the Member States but also between the different sectors that, at national level, contribute to air pollution (energy, transport, agriculture, production activities) and between the different administrative levels (State, Regions, Local Authorities).

Italy is burdened by two infringement procedures on air quality: 2015/2043 and 2014/2147 relating to the exceeding of the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) in some Italian regions, any sentences of condemnation by the Court of Justice of the European Union could impose very significant economic burdens, as well as the possible reduction of the Structural Funds for Italy.

At the opening of the Clean Air Dialogue, the “Clean Air” protocol was signed by the Presidency of the Council, six Ministries, regions and autonomous provinces. It is a concrete action plan agreed between the government, ministries of the environment, economy, economic development, infrastructure and transport, agricultural policies, health, regions and provinces, which provides for short and medium-term measures to improve air quality.

The measures of the Protocol concern the three sectors most responsible for pollution: transport, agriculture and biomass domestic heating. Among the measures related to the transport sector is included the formulation of a proposal to amend the current Highway Code, aimed at introducing “t_he environmental criterion for the adoption of measures to restrict traffic, limited to the stretches of motorway adjacent to urban centers, with particular reference to the reduction of speed limits_”. For the BrennerLEC project this is a very important step forward, which lays the foundations for the transformation of the highly experimental activities carried out in the project to a permanent environmental traffic management measure that can be maintained and extended even after the end of the project. From this point of view BrennerLEC is a forerunner at national level (and not only) in the search for an optimal balance between air quality targets and capacity utilisation of existing road infrastructure.

The Presidency of the Council of Ministers has set up the Coordination Unit of the Action Plan for the improvement of air quality, which has the task of implementing the measures identified and continuously supplementing it with new specific proposals

Clean Air Protocol (in Italian)