Image shows plant covered buildings in Milan, Italy

Lombardy stalls on air pollution plan pledge

A year after the Lombardy authorities, under legal challenge, agreed to produce a new air quality plan for the region, cleaner air is no closer.

ClientEarth started legal action with our Italian partners, Cittadini per l’Aria (CpA), in 2017 but this was withdrawn when the authorities in the northern Italian region agreed to produce a new plan to tackle illegal levels of air pollution.

A year on from that undertaking, however, we have seen little to no progress and the people of Lombardy – one of the most polluted regions in Europe – are still breathing illegally polluted air.

Lombardy’s current air quality plan was agreed in 2013 and is completely inadequate in the face of the terrible air pollution in the region.

ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “The regional authorities’ attempts to update Lombardy’s air quality plans have completely stalled. We’re getting a real sense of a lack of commitment from the authorities to clean up the region’s dirty air.

“The longer they stall, the more damage is done to the health of the people of Lombardy.”

In the documents released so far, the authorities have made worrying noises about only “minor modifications” of their plans and have ruled out a “Strategic Environmental Assessment”, something ClientEarth and CpA say is essential to understand the problem, identify the right solutions and ensure public participation in the process.

CpA’s Director, Anna Gerometta, said: “What we’ve seen so far from the regional authority suggests a huge and completely insufficient level of ambition. In their Regional Development Plan, approved in May, the authorities dedicated just eight measly lines to air pollution. This is indicative of their completely wrong-headed approach to the problem. We need a drastic change of direction.”

The two organisations have vowed to keep up the pressure on the authorities to protect the people of Lombardy from the harmful effects of the region’s dirty air.

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Chris Barbalis

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