The company Snam Rete Gas S.p.A. is building a 687-km-long pipeline called ‘Adriatic Gas’. The purpose of the pipeline is to increase capacity to meet the requirements of British Gas to transport 8 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The pipeline consists of 5 lots that are part of one big project. Under the EU Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) directive, the assessment must cover the entire project and not just individual lots. The Court of Justice is clear in this regard and, in Case C‑2/07, points out that an overall EIA must be carried out even if a project is to be implemented in several stages. The Adriatic network pipeline is a single project and was drawn up and approved as such. It was supposed to have been built along the Adriatic coast of Italy. However, in the area of Biccari (Foggia), it was instead diverted inland, along the Apennines. This diversion has raised a number of critical issues — the destruction of numerous forests and protected areas, geological hazards and the very high risk of earthquake along the Apennines.
In Italy, the various tiers of government in the regions concerned by the pipeline work have all expressed a negative opinion on the current version of the project, precisely because of the critical environmental and planning issues that this infrastructure is raising.
1. Has the Commission been informed of the change made to the Snam Rete Gas project?
2. Is the EIA received by the Commission deemed to be sufficient to establish that there has been no breach of Directives 92/43/EEC, 85/337/EEC and 97/11/EC?
3. Does the Commission, having accepted an assessment per lot rather than an overall assessment, not think it may have violated the ruling of the Court of Justice?
4. Does it not agree that it should revise the EC Directives on Strategic Environmental Assessment (2001/42/EC) and Environmental Impact Assessment (97/11/EC) in order to include seismic risk among the assessment criteria?
5. Does it not agree that the principle of subsidiarity and multi-level governance has been infringed, since the EU is supposed to involve regional and local authorities in the framing of measures and policies?