Lecce, Italy - The Regional Administrative Court for Puglia, first section in Lecce, approved the appeal presented by TAP against the decision by the Technical Office of Melendugno Municipality on the denial, dated 18/09/2012 and the related confirmation by the City Council on November 27 , 2012 and February 29 2012 n.5) of the permit to make geo-physical surveys in the area of San Foca.
The TAR decision, while accepting the reasons provided by TAP lawyers (from Studio Legale Clarizio) to support the appeal, underlines the strategic importance of the project, on a national and European basis “The court states that, even if the reason declared (according to the principles of the City Council Act ) is significant, this reason cannot lead to fight the project, which is part of the activity of Italian Republic, which cooperates in developing a European-wide network, for which this infrastructure plays a strategic role (i.e. Decree by the Minister for Economic Development 13/03/2013).
The need to take care of the community by local Authorities (within this role improving quality life conditions is one big task) cannot be viewed as stand-alone and separated by the national context on which the local Authority system is conceived “
The TAR also stated that the competence on this subject is assigned to Lecce Court , and not Rome “as we do not see an exceptional situation, from which conclude that a relevant national interest from administrative functions in needed” Moreover, the Court remarks the roles of different levels of power, especially those locals during the authorization process of the energy infrastructure, stating that “It’s a good point when TAP consider irrational the decision to stop in any case the construction of the infrastructure, as the local Authority don’t have the power to stop a certain activity to be done on its area” The Court adds that “It’s at the same time a good point to state that a City Council, which is a body giving political and administrative guidelines and control doesn’t have this kind of power, as it’s strictly stated on art .42 of decree 18 08 2000, n. 267. This is a very strict list, which doesn’t include decisions involving the top management , according to art. 107, lett F, of Law n. 267/2000”.
“We are pleased with this decision by TAR Court, and we are fully aware that our project has all necessary features to successfully finish the authoritative process and be completed – says TAP’s Country Manager for Italy, Giampaolo Russo - TAP highlights the will to search for a transparent and proactive dialogue with all the administrations involved, as we are doing with local communities. Thanks to this project, TAP will improve the safety of gas supplies for Italy and will provide, at a local level, benefits in terms of economic growth and jobs creation, together with a total care of the eco-system.”