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Disputes

With regard to waste-to-energy plants, some litigation proceedings are reported.
With regard to the Ferrara plant, until the decision no. 7892/2010 was filed, 5 complaints were pending before the Regional Administrative Court of Emilia-Romagna.
With the first three complaints, Hera S.p.A. had appealed against some deeds considered to infringe its rights; specifically:

  • The Integrated Environmental Authorisation (IEA) issued by the Province of Ferrara in 2008, which confirmed the limiting quantity of 130,000 total metric tons of waste which could be disposed of in the plant (whereas in the EIA, 142,000 metric tonnes had been allowed), also limiting the disposal of special waste to 30,000 metric tons (within the aforesaid total limit);
  • The modification to the Provincial Waste Management Plan (P.P.G.R.) adopted in April 2009, which established that, in view of a greater demand for the disposal of municipal waste, the waste-to-energy plant would assign top priority to the processing of municipal waste, still within the limit of 130,000 metric tons, so the possibility of processing 30,000 metric tons of special waste became merely residual and therefore of an incidental nature;
  • A further IEA, issued in June 2009, as it completely implements the aforementioned contents of the modification to the Plan.

The fourth appeal made by the WWF and various environmental associations aims at completely annulling the IEA issued by the Province of Ferrara in 2007 and then replaced by the IEA of 2008, had been rejected by the Regional Administrative Court of Emilia-Romagna under Sentence no. 21/2010, subsequently challenged by the WWF before the Council of State. Hera S.p.A. regularly appeared in the aforesaid appeal.
By means of Sentence no. 7892/2010 filed on 20 September 2010, the Regional Administrative Court of Emilia-Romagna rejected the aforesaid first three claims proposed by Hera S.p.A., which, deeming the decision made by the first Judge objectionable, appealed against it before the Council of State, requesting that it be changed.
By means of appeal presented to the Regional Administrative Court of Emilia-Romagna, Herambiente S.p.A. challenged the decision of the Ferrara Provincial Council no. 251 dated 20 September 2011 concerning the "Decision regarding the screening procedure for the production of energy from biomass combustion at the waste incinerator" located in Ferrara.
Despite the fact that the environmental compatibility study presented by Herambiente demonstrates that the projects does not have negative effects on the environment (so the conditions for the EIA procedures would not apply), the Ferrara Provincial Authority, under resolution no. 251 dated 20 September 2011, established the project be subject to EIA. The fixing of the pertinent hearing is pending.

With regard to the Rimini plant, a lawsuit is pending with extraordinary appeal to the President of the Republic, made by WWF Italia against the province of Rimini and Hera S.p.A. for the cancellation, following suspension, of Provincial Council of Rimini resolution no. 13, of 28 January 2009, pertaining to the Integrated Environmental Authorization of the waste-to-energy plant of Coriano, Rimini, deemed defective by the counterpart who objected to the illegitimacy since:

  • the terms set by law for the duration of the proceeding were allegedly not complied with;
  • the Province of Rimini allegedly allowed Hera S.p.A., without reason, not to treat healthcare waste in the new Line 4 and not to build the district heating line prescribed in the EIA;
  • the IEA, as issued by the Province of Rimini, allegedly failed to specify the limits to atmospheric emissions with reference to each incineration line and is also allegedly in contrast with law provisions on mandatory percentages of separate waste collection.

Hera S.p.A. submitted its own deductions in which it requests that the application for interim relief and the appeal be rejected due to the groundlessness and inadmissibility of the reasons set forth. Ruling of suspension is still pending.

In conclusion, mention is made of two disputes which arose in 2011 with the Municipal Authorities of Castello d'Argile and Cento. These municipal authorities announced public tenders for the awarding of the gas distribution service. Hera, deeming these procedures as not compliant with the matters envisaged by current legislation - which envisages that the awarding of the gas distribution service should take place no longer on a municipal basis but on the basis of minimum local areas - challenged the afore-mentioned tender procedures before the Regional Administrative Court of Emilia-Romagna. With regard to the Municipal Authority of Cento, the Regional Administrative Court upheld Hera's appeal cancelling the tender procedures. The proceedings brought against the Municipal Authority of Castello d'Argile are by contrast still pending.