24 September 2021

Agreement for the construction of a silo: yes to environmental improvements, but staunch opposition to requests for decommissioning

After almost two years from the request to build a silo inside Buzzi Unicem's Monselice cement plant, so as to improve the management of raw materials, also from an environmental standpoint, the Municipality has recently subordinated its consent to the plant's decommissioning, with a non-transparent administrative procedure that has forced the company to appeal to the Veneto Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR) in order to protect its own interests, those of its employees and related parties, as well as one of the best performing industrial activities in the sector at the national level.

In this context, denying Buzzi Unicem the possibility to build the silo means opposing a small-scale project, perfectly integrated in the existing structures, which would optimize the management of iron oxides, strongly limiting the possible phenomena of diffused dustiness, a reduction which had been requested in the past by the municipal administration itself and by the committees, which are now opposing the project.

Above all, it must be denied that the proposed agreement put forward by the Company does not take into consideration the requests made by the Municipality and Colli Park during the proceedings, since the Company has suggested and agreed to commit to numerous environmental improvements, including:

  • refraining from increasing production capacity and flue gas flow rate;
  • voluntarily reduce the current emission limits provided for by the Integrated Environmental Authorization (A.I.A. or Autorizzazione Integrata Ambientale).
  • refraining from increasing the related traffic
  • providing special guarantees on the future removal of the silo
  • renovating a block of flats adjacent to the Cement Works for activities of general interest to the benefit of local citizens and associations.

After defining these terms, the Municipality, however, has totally deviated from the conclusions reached by the investigative work, effectively thwarting its function and presenting, at the last moment, a document agreed upon with the committees, which would like to see the start of the decommissioning of the plant within a few years and a formal abandonment of alternative fuels, with no technical and environmental reason, as it has been repeatedly made clear by all the technical Agencies over the last few years.

It is also on record that these requests made by the Municipality have not been considered technically congruous even by the municipal offices, proving their incompatibility with the aims of Article 19 of the Environmental Plan and their total disproportionality with respect to the proposed intervention.

As for secondary solid fuels, the issue is not on the agenda, nor has the Company made any request in this regard, despite the fact that the Municipality's claim is now in conflict with national and European provisions on improving environmental and emissions-related performance of this type of plant.

In conclusion, the Company reiterates its intention and willingness to pursue the constant containment of its impacts in order to achieve optimal integration in the territory in which it is located and the continuous improvement of its performance, in line with the provisions of the Environmental Plan.

At the same time, the Company cannot accept conditions of decommissioning or reconversion or make waivers which are not pertinent to the object of the agreement in question, as made clear by various pronouncements of the Regional Administrative Tribunal and recent regional opinions, and - most importantly - which it does not consider to be in the general interest of safeguarding the territory, the environment and employment.