National policies on environmental legislation are aimed to reduce pollution and promote sustainable energy. In Italy, businesses are held responsible for the environmental impact of their activities. The decree regarding “Urgent provisions concerning simplification and development” has introduced provisions for the protection of the environment to simplify some procedures relating to:
- environmental protection and recovery areas (commissioning and remediation);
- EIA procedures (Environmental Impact Assessment);
- IEA procedures (Integrated Environmental Authorisation)
Italy has adopted the European Union's environmental legislation by introducing the National inventory of Emissions and their Sources (INES) which groups together and publishes data on industrial emissions which pollute water and air.
The community legislation concerning industrial waste products and the treatment of polluting substances such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, has been implemented through two decrees.
In Italy, the EU legislation on pollution prevention and the control and reduction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, and on the disposal of waste has been implemented through the following decree.
The national strategy for sustainable development determines the main objectives and actions for the four priority areas in terms of the environment:
- nature and biodiversity;
- quality of life and the urban environment;
- sustainable use and management of natural resources and waste.
The National Waste Observatory (ONR) is the organisation established by the Ministry for the Environment, which is responsible for supervision and control of waste, packaging and packaging waste management.
The National Centre for Chemical Substances deals with the application of the new REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of Chemicals) Regulation which substantially modifies the Community legislative framework on controlling chemical risk. The first phase of the application of the legislation consists in the gathering of information, by the industry, on all substances of which over 1 ton is produced or imported per year.
The activities of the National Centre for Chemical Substances include:
- Evaluating the danger from hazardous products/articles present in the Italian market;
- Coordinating the execution of analytical investigations and tests on chemical products retailed and the problems linked with overdoses of chemical substances;
- giving opinions on the degree of danger of preparations to be marketed.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.
Italian companies must follow a series of administrative procedures related to the environment. The main ones are listed below.
Environmental declaration single form
This is a standardised compulsory declaration for businesses (with more than ten employees) which produce special, but non-hazardous waste. This must be submitted to the Chamber of Commerce once a year. The environmental declaration single form (MUD) includes the declaration on pollutant emissions into air and water to be entered into the National inventory of Emissions and their Sources (INES).
Single Environmental Authorisation for SMEs
The AUA replaces any act of communication, notification and authorisation by the current legislation on the environment, simplifying the administrative burden on small and medium enterprises. In order to obtain this authorisation, which lasts 15 years, companies can submit a single application, through an online procedure, to the SUAP (Single Information Point for production activities). Authorisation will be issued within 90 days and will cover:
- waste water;
- noise impact;
- disposal of waste;
- recovery of waste;
- emissions into the atmosphere.
Register of Manufacturers of Electrical and Electronic Material
Registration is compulsory for those companies that produce electrical and electronic materials in line with specific environmental rules.
Declaration on volatile organic compounds
Businesses dealing with paint, varnish or car bodies must send the Ministry for the Environment data and information on the types and quantities of products released on the market. The communication must be made exclusively on paper forms, downloadable, together with instructions for their completion; the forms must be sent by post to the Chamber of Commerce by 1st May each year.
Businesses which regularly transport their own hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials in quantities not exceeding 30 kilograms or 30 litres per day must register with the National register of environmental operators. Those exceeding this amount, however, must be registered in higher categories.
Permits and licences
Business owners can find information online on data transmission procedures, documents and declarations to be submitted, and can download online the necessary forms.
Industrial plants releasing harmful substances into the environment must apply for a special permit called Integrated Environmental Authorisation (AIA). The businesses must work on reducing pollution, preventing accidents and ensuring the decontamination of the site at the end of the activity.
On the website of the Ministry for the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea it is possible to find the list of applicable laws for the various environmental topic areas.
The Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) offers, through its website, a range of services such as databases, examples of good practice and other useful information.
Ecocerved, the company which manages the IT systems of the Chambers of Commerce and other organisations in the business sector, provides information on the compilation of the MUD form and the online assistance service.