ConsultationIn 2002, Ternai created a completely new scenario regarding the construction of infrastructure in Italy. In the practice that had been followed until then, discussion with local institutions started only at the beginning of the authorization process, when the planning of the infrastructure was already at the execution stage. Environmental considerations were introduced at that stage through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure. This approach led to strong opposition by the local institutions involved and the related population, with the result that often changes in the original plan were required and the work suffered delays. In some cases, it was even impossible to find a feasible solution.        

Terna decided to bring the discussion with local institutions forward to the strategic planning stage of the work – the construction of new lines and stations – included in its Developmenti Plan. The method used provides for early consultation with local government and other institutions at different levels (regions, provinces, and municipalities), based on shared criteria for characterizing the territory and aimed at finding the optimal location for the new installations. The solutions arrived at in this way are ratified by the signing of specific agreements between Terna and the aforesaid governments. Ultimately, Terna’s approach has entailed the voluntary development of a method of relating to local stakeholders modeled on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). At that time the subject of EC Directive 2001/42/EC, the SEA was to be adopted by Italian law only many years later – in 2007, with Legislative Decree 152/2006 – and with considerably less complex implications as far as relations with local institutions are concerned.  

La concertazione

The choice of following the SEA method to construct a transparent, documented, repeatable, and participatory planning process was agreed on and developed by a national work group (the “SEA” Negotiating Table) formally instituted in 2005, in which the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the governments of the regions and the autonomous provinces participated. The group’s work has been supplemented by the gradual signing of protocols of understanding and planning agreements with regional government and local governments to formally establish the progress of the reciprocal commitments. Since 2002, Terna has signed agreements on the application of the SEA method with 18 regions, including the autonomous province of Trento.

Over the years, the model based on the SEA has undergone significant changes, which have emerged from a complex and fruitful cooperation among the parties, and is currently organized into different levels of discussion, analysis, and assessment:

  • at the strategic level, the reasons for developing the National Transmissioni Grid – i.e., the new work to plan in response to the problems identified – are presented.
  • At the structural level, the process of finding agreement on where to locate the corridors begins. These are strips of land up to several kilometers wide that are suitable for hosting the planned work.
  • At the execution level, possible alternative locations for the project infrastructure are identified inside the chosen corridor as belts of feasibility of the route, i.e. segments of land up to several hundreds of meters wide inside which the project’s route can be developed.