Streamlined Italian Waste Rules Blocked

ROME, Italy, October 19, 2001 (ENS) - A move by Italy's government to reduce bureaucratic burdens on the waste industry was blocked on Wednesday when the centre-left opposition forced through an amendment deleting an article on waste from a new planning law. Environmental groups claim the government's plan would have led to an unacceptable dilution of waste management controls.

Proposed in August, the draft law is a key plank in the "first hundred days" programme of Italy's new government under Silvio Berlusconi. It aims at freeing up business, for example by limiting local authorities' role in granting planning permissions, and speeding up infrastructure projects, for example by exempting "strategic" projects from environmental impact assessment (EIA) rules.

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Italian waste truck with equipment for shredding waste (Photo courtesy Satrind)
The article overturned in the chamber of deputies would have significantly reduced waste regulation, restricting the notion of "waste generation" to its initial source and releasing waste operators from a number of bureacratic requirements.

Despite recent advances, Italian waste management is noted for patchy enforcement of environmental rules, including widespread illegality in some regions.

Environmental groups Legambiente and WWF Italy claim that the defeated article would have hindered attempts to monitor illegal behavior and encouraged trafficking of dangerous waste.

WWF has also criticised the law's proposal to exempt some infrastructure projects from EIA requirements, which it claims would breach EU law.

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{Published in cooperation with ENDS Environment Daily, Europe's choice for environmental news. Environmental Data Services Ltd, London. Email: envdaily@ends.co.uk}