Repealed the odour regulation of Apulia, Italy

 arcelormittal taranto  The region of Apulia in sourthern Italy published last year a new legislation on odour management, the Legge Regionale Puglia 32/2018. This legislation was a bit different from other odour legislations around the world cause it defined different odour impact criteria (OIC) according to the sensitivity of the people affected by the odour impact. Last week the Constitutional Court of Italy repealed this new legislation. Why?

 Taranto is a beautiful coastal city in the region of Apulia that happen to be also the location of Europe's largest steelworks. This factory, now part of ArcelorMittal, was key in Italian 2018 election campaign. At that time the Italian party Five star Movement promised to close the factory after years and years of odour complaints and other environmental issues.

 Now the Five Star Movement is in charge of the Italian government and of course they did not close the plant, but instead they handed it to the new owners. Probably the region of Apulia foresaw this situation and that is why they issued a new Regional Law on odour management (Legge Regionale Puglia 32/2018), repealing, by the way, the previous one (Legge Regionale Puglia 23/2015).

   This interesting and thorough regulation consists of 9 articles and a Technical Annex that is in fact, the most important part of the legislation. There are many aspects to consider in this legislation, some of them new, some of them not that new. An interesting approach in this legislation is a new set of Odour Impact Criteria (OIC) based on the sensitivity of the receptors, according to the following table.

Receptor Class Description of the class OIC
1 Residential areas with an edification index over 1,5 m³/m² 1 ouε/m³
2 Buildings with a collective continuous use (hospitals, schools, etc) 1 ouε/m³
3 Residential areas with an edification index below 1,5 m³/m² 2 ouε/m³
4 Buildings or areas with a collective commercial continuous use (markets, offices, monuments) 2 ouε/m³
5 Buildings or areas with a collective discontinuous use (fairs, stadiums, religious places, etc) 3 ouε/m³
6 Areas with a prevalent industrial, livestock or agricultural use 4 ouε/m³
7 Areas with buildings with not constant presence of human groups (farmlands, uninhabited areas) 5 ouε/m³
8 Touristic areas, even though they are close to another area with a natural value. 1 ouε/m³

  These odour levels should be at most 175 hours every year and are fixed no matter the offensiveness of the perceived odour.

   Now, this legislation was of application to a list of almost 100 industrial activities included in Directive 2010/75/EU, the so-called European Industrial Emission Directive (IED) in force, by the way, in 28 European countries. That is, this regulation of the region of Apulia included this steelworks in Taranto.

     However, in last week's sentence, the Constitutional Court has rewritten this regional legislation, stating that it cannot apply to activities under the IED. That is, it does not apply to this plant in Taranto. With this sentence, the Constitutional Court has left the region of Apulia, and thus the rest of Italian areas, a bit more unprotected and powerless to tackle odour impact in their territories. Why did the Constitutional Court do so?

   This question is difficult to answer, considering that the former Italian Government made a minor modification in the Italian regulation on the environment, adding article 272-bis, giving the regions of Italy the power to regulate an odour impact. So this sentence is difficult to understand, and it does not protect the citizens of Taranto nor the interests of this steel plant of Taranto.

   A pity.

   Italy has a few regional odour regulations; learn more about them here.


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Carlos Nietzsche Diaz Jimenez's Avatar

Carlos Nietzsche Diaz Jimenez

Carlos is the editor-chief of and has been in the odour world since 2001. Since then, Carlos has attended over 90 conferences in odour management, both national and international and authored a few papers on the subject. He has also organized a few international meetings and courses. Carlos owns a small company named Ambiente et Odora (AEO). He spends his free time with his wife and his twins, Laura and Daniel, and of course, writing on