Court rejects Florence airport expansion plan

Florence's Peretola airport

FLORENCE — The regional tribunal TAR has rejected a plan by Matteo Renzi, former Mayor of Florence, and his friends in the Tuscan business world to add another runway to the city’s airport. 

 Lawyer Guido Giovanelli, a legal representative of the ‘No’ campaign, was the first to announce the refusal, and made clear the tribunal’s points of contention: “To begin with, the new plan is not compatible with the nearby Parco della Piana. Next, the air pollution- we can’t carry out studies based on plans that haven’t happened yet. Finally, we have to take into account the water safety of the area.”

 TAR’s doubts have been supported by researched carried out by university professors. In a 70-page document appraising the situation, the tribunal stated: “Every planned intervention on the underlying water systems, on the park or on greenfield sites strongly affects environmental sustainability, over which the proposed new runway cannot be prioritised.” The same point is raised almost ritualistically by other members of the committe.

 The document continues: “The choice of a runway running parallel [to the motorway] will bring about a substantial lowering in the surface area of wetland ecosystems."

The appraisal also holds a clear stance on the project's hydrological implications.  "The sheer complexity and importance of the planned intervention concerning water networks would require an exhaustive environmental valuation, which has for the moment been deferred to later phases.” 

 The project would also impact the nearby cluster of Medici villas, a Unesco heritage site.

 For President of Tuscany Enrico Rossi who is “still convinced of the project’s good intentions”, however, the issues raised by TAR will not stop the project being carried through.

 Nonetheless, TAR still think they have won the battle: “This will be the end of Renzi’s airport.”