«Brussels considers the progress and investments put on the ground»

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One of the aspects on which the Lombard institutions and companies that have signed the Manifesto on air quality place the greatest emphasis is that the new European directive on the subject also takes into account the progress made by the territories to reduce emissions. In 2023, the Lombardy Region announced, the number of days in which the daily limit value of Pm10 (50 micrograms per cubic meter) was exceeded marked a clear decrease compared to 2022 and was respected in all stations in the regional territory the limit value, with an annual average of 40 micrograms per cubic meter. The year just ended was the best ever in the majority of stations, with concentrations much lower than in 2022: in Milan city, for example, the worst data was detected in the Milan Senato station with 32 μg/m3, compared of the regulatory limit value of 40 μg/m3. The previous year, the concentration in the worst station in the city was 39 μg/m3. The reduction in concentrations compared to 2022 in Milan stands at between 5 and 7 μg/m3 on the annual average in the various stations.

Thanks, explains the President of the Region Attilio Fontana, “to the investments made by the Region and by businesses, as well as to the virtuous behavior of citizens, which have led to a constant decline in emissions”. As became evident in the first weeks of the year, several critical issues remain, mainly due to the orographic condition of the Po Valley. «For this reason, in implementation of the Air Quality Manifesto, we will continue to invest in innovation – adds Fontana -. In 2024, interventions of 6 million euros are planned for the renewal of the company vehicle fleet, 23 million for the replacement of woody biomass plants and two other tenders in the planning phase for private cars and for the burial of waste effluents. farm”. The line is clear, concludes Fontana: «Environmental sustainability, which is a commitment for everyone, must go hand in hand with social sustainability and economic sustainability».

Even businesses, in recent years, have done their part and are asking Brussels to recognize this commitment: «Lombardy industry has been investing in reducing emissions for years – says the president of Confindustria Lombardia, Francesco Buzzella –. 35% of Lombardy companies not subject to EU-ETS obligations have made investments to reduce emissions in the five-year period 2017-2021, as emerged from the 2023 Confindustria Lombardia Survey on Climate Change”. Investments motivated both by a need for efficiency and energy saving, and by the search for greater environmental sustainability. «Given this commitment, the approach with which the European Union is managing the reform of the air quality directive is even more surprising, i.e. imposing the same criteria for all member states without taking into consideration the progress achieved in over the years, the investments already made by companies and the climatic and geomorphological characteristics – adds Buzzella –. Without mincing too many words, if the ideological and unsustainable line of the current Commission were to pass, the result would be the industrial desertification of Lombardy, with the closure of 75% of industrial activities. The time has therefore come to ask ourselves who benefits from the deindustrialisation of Europe?

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