Italy will be taken to court for landfill failures

The European Commission is taking Italy to the Court of Justice for its failure to rehabilitate or close down 44 landfills, which represent a serious risk for human health and the environment.

Despite earlier warnings from the Commission, Italy has failed to take measures to rehabilitate or close down 44 non-compliant landfills, as required by EU rules on landfilling (Landfill Directive, Council Directive 1999/31/EC). Under the Directive, member states must recover and dispose of waste in a manner that does not endanger human health and the environment, prohibiting the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste.

Like other member states, Italy was obliged, by 16 July 2009, to either rehabilitate landfills that had been granted a permit or which were already in operation before 16 July 2001, bringing them to the safety standards set out in this Directive, or to close them.

Due to insufficient progress in addressing the issue, the Commission sent an additional reasoned opinion in June 2015, urging Italy to adequately treat 50 sites, which still posed a threat to human health and the environment.

Although some progress was made, the European Commission says the necessary measures to upgrade or close 44 landfills have still not been completed by May 2017 and is taking Italy to the Court of Justice of the EU in an effort to speed up the process.

Similar measures have been taken against 6 other member states: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

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