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Rock ptarmigan may continue to nest

Italy’s largely unspoilt Vallaccia Valley will remain protected. © asebest / flickr.com

No ski lifts or pistes may be built on the mountain slopes of the Vallaccia Valley in Italy. This decision of the Lombardy Administrative Court now overturns the authorisation granted by the Italian Council of Ministers.

The long-running controversy has now obtained a clear result: the regional administrative court of Lombardy (TAR) has upheld the objection of the Italian environmental organisation Legambiente to the decision to build new ski lifts and pistes in the Vallaccia Valley. The building project was planned for a side valley of Livigno, in the midst of an area that has managed to retain its original rural character and is protected by Natura 2000 and the landscape plan of the Lombardy Region.

An expert report by the supervisory authority also expressed doubts. The ski lift operator Mottolino Spav however argued that the plan was to expand an existing ski lift system, not build a new one. This was contradicted by the fact that the old valley station would have been located three kilometres from that planned. In addition, none of the planning instruments foresaw an extension to the skiing area in this region.

In order to accelerate the project and obtain approval for new construction, the local regional administrative bodies applied directly to the Council of Ministers, which issued the authorisation that has now been overturned by the TAR. According to the court, this was a discretionary decision that could in no circumstances be enforced against currently valid legislation. The TAR thus re-established the principle of legal certainty. “We are pleased with the outcome of this dispute, which has already lasted far too long”, says Barbara Meggetto, chair of Legambiente Lombardy.

Nature and agriculture may also in future take precedence in the Vallaccia Valley, with rock ptarmigans breeding again in peace on the northern slopes of the valley – at least for the time being. The ski lift operator is already dreaming up new ski area links.

Source and further information: http://lombardia.legambiente.it/contenuti/comunicati/ampliamento-degli-impianti-sciistici-livigno-il-tar-accoglie-il-ricorso-di-lega (it), www.laprovinciadisondrio.it/stories/Cronaca/livigno-dopo-lo-stop-alla-vallaccia-colleghiamo-i-versanti-e-valdidentro_1192512_11/ (it)

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