The New EU Air Pollution Parameters Risk Penalizing Northern Italy

Energy - June 6, 2023

The Governor of Lombardy Sounds the Alarm on the Severity of the New European Parameters on Air Pollution

From Brussels, the president of the Lombardy Region, Attilio Fontana, pointed out that the new European standards on air quality, which are particularly severe, risk harming all activities in the Po valley and spoke out for certain instances of reasonableness in opposition to the new directives defined by the European Commission, currently under discussion and which will be voted on next July. Almost all of the regions of northern Italy have defined the new parameters established to reduce the pollution of the area in the old continent as decidedly unreasonable and at the limit of practicability.

The definitive passage to the new rules, should they be voted on in the European Parliament during the next occasion in July, will take place in 2030, the year in which the other age-old objective on the “green houses” project will have to be achieved, considered controversial by many and full of unknowns relating to feasibility, not only for Italy. The standardization of the rules evaluated so far by the European Commission, risk putting Italy in great difficulty due to a certain inconvenience, especially on the part of the industries involved and their related sectors, in preparing the required adjustments to the production methods and materials used.

The Lombard president Attilio Fontana once again pointed out that all the updates requested by Europe, in view of the ecological transition to be undertaken, do not take into account the intrinsic characteristics of each country and northern Italy has some peculiarities that must be absolutely considered before imposing rigid measures on the quality of the air which, especially in the Po valley, is influenced by a particular geological conformation. Each territory, in the various European nations, should follow different procedures, based on its own characteristics, to achieve the objectives set by the European community.

The Lombardy region, in the last 15 years, has made a lot of effort to improve air quality in its territory and has done so with measures and actions aimed at industries and citizens, with remarkable results. The concentration of pollutants has been reduced, throughout the Po valley, by 39% on an annual basis, as regards PM10, by 40% for PM2.5 and even by 45% for NO2, considered the most polluting substances for air and atmosphere. On the basis of these data, the governor Attilio Fontana himself asked Brussels for a more effective collaboration based on real contributions that fit the commitment shown. Together with Lombardy, even Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna have expressed their willingness to decisively oppose European regulations that risk damaging citizens and businesses.

Northern Italy, together with many other regions, are asking the European Community for more flexibility in the application of the parameters envisaged and which will have to be discussed in the coming weeks and then, possibly, enter into force as early as 2030. The geological conformation of the Belpaese does not allow the severity imposed by Brussels and the commitment shown so far in reducing air pollution, which has reached the minimum level compared to that recorded in most other European states, must be taken into consideration in applying the new regulations.

The Lombard governor, during his stay in Belgium, also had the opportunity to meet the Italian ambassador in Brussels Federica Favi to analyse more accurately the relations between Lombardy and Flanders, which have always been very profitable under various aspects, including commercial one. The meetings held, among others, also with the president of the European Parliament Roberta Metzola, will serve all of Italy to make collaboration with the Union much more effective.


Alessandro Fiorentino