Italy: Recent Developments In Italian Environmental Law

Last Updated: 8 March 1995

Paolo Roncelli of Gianni, Origoni & Partners, Milan

Italian environmental law has been recently characterised by the frequent use of the urgency legislation tool of the law decree, i.e., a decree which is enacted by the government, is immediately binding and must be converted into law by the two Chambers of the Parliament within 60 days from its coming into force. Lack of the conversion of the law decree into law usually triggers the re-enactment of the law decree, often with amendments. As this process may be repeated more then once, many rules are practically modified every 60 days.

Waste Water Discharges
The fundamental text on this subject is the Law No. 319 of May 10, 1976, known as the 'Merli Law'. The latest version of the long string of law decrees that have modified the Merli Law in the recent past is Law Decree No. 9 of January 16, 1995. Among the amendments introduced by this law decree are dispositions which: (i) authorise regional authorities to regulate discharges, however subject to the limits set forth in the Merli Law; (ii) introduce different penalties for violations of the discharge limits set forth by the regional authorities, in particular increasing the pecuniary penalties to a maximum of 250,000, 000 Lit; and (iii) confirm the possibility for owners of waste water discharges to file an authorisation application without being prosecuted for their previous violations by paying a cash settlement.

Industrial Risks
Presidential Decree No. 175 of May 17 1988 contains a regulation of the procedure by which to evaluate safety reports and plant inspections. Most recently, Law Decree No. 2 of January 7 1995, introduces amendments directed towards a greater protection of the risks involved in industrial activities. These include extending sanctions provided in Article 21 of Presidential Decree No. 175 to manufacturers who omit to make the required notification or statement of their participation in high-risk activities (listed in Ministerial Decree of May 20, 1991) within the deadline of October 8 1994.

Secondary Raw Materials
Law Decree No. 3 of January 7 1995, reintroduced a regulation already laid down by Law Decree No. 619 of November 7 1994. Such regulation is aimed towards a more rational use of leftovers from production or consumption cycles, requiring whoever intends to collect, transport, stock, treat or recycle such leftovers to notify a governmental agency ('Comitato nazionale d ell'Albo nazionale delle imprese esercenti servizi di smaltimento dei rifiuti') and the competent Region. Included among the dispositions of the decree are rules on the treatment, storage or use of secondary raw materials and provisions concerning the temporary storage of hazardous waste.

Water Resources
Law No. 36 of January 5 1994, known as the 'Galli Law', introduces dispositions aimed towards a more strategic use of water resources. The 'Galli Law' contains objectives and programs which require subsequent implementation by government regulations and decrees, and dispositions which are immediately binding. The principles contained in the law they can be invoked by interested parties in environmental impact assessments, environmental damage assessments, and they lay down standards based on which to define water pollution.

National Agency For The Protection Of The Environment (ANPA)
The agency was introduced with Law No. 61 of January 21 1994. The agency's functions include providing the Italian government with all relevant technical and scientific data regarding the environment and co-ordinating the scientific and technical policies of the local regional and provincial agencies. The agency is not yet operative.

New Environmental Declaration Forms
Law No. 70 of January 25 1994, introduced a new and simplified notification procedure with regard to most of the obligatory environmental, sanitary and public safety fulfilment which businesses are presently subject to. A new declaration form substitutes all the declarations, reports or notifications which are to be filed pursuant to the laws regarding wastes, air emissions, water discharges, and industrial risks. The form is to be filed annually at the local Chamber of Commerce which will then proceed to form a data bank and to transfer the collected information to the interested departments within the Public Administration. The law will become operative when decrees are issued to implement its rules and to determine the details to be included in the declaration form. Environmental Impact Assessment Law No. 109 of February 11 1994 introduced a complete and organic regulation of contracting work in the public sector. In terms of an environmental impact assessment, the law foresees that the engineering companies which design the projects include in their final design an environmental impact assessment and that the 'services committee', a governmental body, may render its opinion only after the projects have been evaluated in an environmental impact assessment.

Ministerial Decree of September 9, 1994, enacted the necessary rules and regulations to intervene for the clean-up and removal of asbestos, as foreseen in Law No. 527 of October 21 1992 on the discontinuance of asbestos use.

For further information please contact Enzo Schiavello on +392 76 00 97 56.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.