Puglia region: the extension of the circuit in the place of the forest is suspended

The Puglia region will reconsider and suspend the Nardò Technical Center (NTC) program agreement, the Porsche track extension project that involves the demolition of around 200 hectares of forest and Mediterranean scrub in the Salento area, which includes the municipalities of Nardò and Porto Cesareo. The president himself announced it Michele Emiliano through a note: «The region once again demonstrates its desire to combine the public interest, which is the basis of the implementation of the intervention, with the protection of the environment. We have taken a decision in agreement with the Ministry to review some aspects of the procedure based on specific guidelines provided by the European Commission”. The decision was “favorably” welcomed by the associations and the reality of the territory, which opposed the project in recent months, and are requesting, as in the case of the Italia Nostra Sud Salento section, the Custodi del Bosco dell’Arneo Committee and the Legal Intervention Group, the suspension of the Regional Council Resolution No. . 1096 of July 31, 2023 and the subsequent decree of President Emiliano n. 537 of November 20 last year.

At the heart of the dispute is, in fact, the approval of the draft program agreement between the Puglia Region, Porsche Ntc, the municipalities of Nardò and Porto Cesareo and the ASI Consortium of the Province of Lecce for the implementation industrial development plan submitted by Ntc with which various works will be carried out in the affected areas. As helicopter rescue center equipped with a helipad and associated medical facilities to be integrated into the regional health system to deal with emergencies and guarantee health security with particular reference to Salento. and especially expansion of the test circuit, with nine new tracks aimed at expanding testing capabilities, as well as technical and support buildings for some of the test tracks, administrative and service buildings, and a new logistics and maintenance center. All interventions that “would mean the destruction of 200 hectares of forested area and Mediterranean scrub”, he recalls Marcello Secli, Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Italia Nostra Sud Salento Section. A lot of Forest of Arneo which is part of the program agreement, is located in an area of ​​remarkable natural scientific importance affected by environmental constraints, which includes two sites of community interest: “Palude del Conte – Punta Prosciutto Dunes” and “Porto Cesareo”, which are essential for the protection of natural habitats and animal and plant species of community interest.

Now the president Emiliano interrupts the proceedings, which in the meantime have also become the subject of the association’s appeal to the Bari TAR. Among the reasons given, he highlights “a number of reasons”. Secli “among which lack of prior public discussion, as imposed by regional law No. 28/2017, which did not allow sufficient knowledge and evaluation by broad interests of the effects of the work on the environment and that this lack had an effect on the assessment of the prerequisites for the procedure for an exception in the presence of an assessment of the negative impact on the location, thereby violating art. 6 of the “Habitats” directive due to the lack of a rigorous evaluation of alternative solutions to the violation that Italia Nostra reported in detail to the European Commission, which then took action and reserves the right to evaluate the existence of the conditions for the derogation procedure”

In fact, the lack of community involvement in the participatory process was a point of contention. For this reason too, the department of the environment of the Puglia region invited Southern Salento part of Italia Nostra together with Arneo Forest Guardian Committee et al Legal Intervention Group, «at a meeting to be held in the next few days to discuss the program agreement regarding the Porsche NTC project. For this meeting,” he concludes Secli “the invited associations are taking steps to ascertain the terms of the provision adopted by President Emiliano and the related documents that the Puglia Region has received from the European Commission”. In short, the game is still being played and the future of around 200 hectares of forest and Mediterranean scrub may change for the better.


Leave a Comment