Brussels, 20 June 2013
Environment: Italy referred back to Court over waste management in Campania, Commission asks for fines
On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the European Commission has decided to refer Italy back to the European Court of Justice for its long-running failure to manage waste adequately in the Campania region more than three years after a previous ruling. Under EU law, Member States must recover and dispose of waste in a manner that does not endanger human health and the environment.
The Commission is suggesting a daily penalty payment of € 256819 for each day after the second Court ruling until Italy complies with the judgment and a lump sum calculated on the basis of € 28090 per day for the period between the first judgment and the day of compliance or the day of the second Court ruling.
In its ruling against Italy in March 2010, the Court was particularly concerned about the absence of an integrated and adequate network of disposal installations, which is a requirement under the Waste Framework Directive. The Commission has been in constant contact with the Italian authorities in the wake of that judgment, in an effort to ensure that Italy takes the measures necessary to execute the ruling. Some progress has been made: Italy adopted a new waste management plan for Campania in January 2012, and in June presented a programme of measures intended to manage waste in the region until 2016, when new waste treatment plants are expected to become operational.
Since summer 2011, the local authorities have channelled large quantities of waste to facilities in other regions, providing an interim solution to problems that have been a regular feature of the region for a number of years. New waste crises cannot be excluded, however, as the systemic problems in the region are still not adequately addressed by shipping waste out of the region.
While acknowledging some improvements in areas such as separate collection of waste, the Commission is concerned at the delays that have halted construction of most of the planned plants for recovering organic waste, incinerators and landfills. There is now a risk that many of the planned installations will not be ready by the end of 2016, i.e. within a reasonable period of the first Court ruling.
There are also concerns about the uncertain fate of 6 million tons of baled waste stocked at various sites in Campania, awaiting an incinerator that is yet to be built, and about the low rate of separate collection in the Naples province. Naples, the largest city in Campania in terms of urban waste produced, has a separate collection rate of only around 20 %.
The Waste Framework Directive is a key instrument to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects caused by the collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of waste. The Directive obliges Member States to dispose of waste without endangering human health and without harming the environment.
On EU waste legislation in general:
On implementation of Community environmental legislation:
On the June infringement package decisions, see MEMO/13/583
On the general infringement procedure, see also MEMO/12/12
For more information on infringement procedures: