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In the process of reducing excessive bureaucracy for Italian firms, the Presidential Decree No. 59/2013 has introduced a single authorisation that replaces severalemissions permits, which firms were previously required to obtain in order to comply with the Italian environmental rules. The authorisation is called A.U.A.(“Autorizzazione unica ambientale”).
Article 2 of Presidential Decree No. 59/2013 defines A.U.A. as the permitissued by the S.U.A.P. (“Sportello Unicoper le Attività Produttive” – “local Office for productive activities”)substituting several communication, notification and authorisation forms, whichare enlisted in Article 3 of Presidential Decree No. 59/2013. In particular,Article 3 refers to authorisation for waste disposal, reporting on agronomicuse of manure and wastewaters of olive press plants and other mentioned plants,authorisation for atmospheric emissions, wastewater treatment plants etc.
According to Article 1 of Presidential Decree No. 59/2013, A.U.A.operates with respect to SME (small and medium enterprises) as defined by Article 2 of the Decree 18/04/2005 of the Ministry for Economic Devolvement.
Additionally, A.U.A. applies to plants that are neither subject toA.I.A. (“Autorizzazione integrata ambientale”,also known as “Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control” or “IPPC”), which is a different environmental permit concerning specific activities, nor toV.I.A. (“Valutazione di impattoambientale”), which is a risk-based evaluation procedure in relation to a project’s environmental effects.
Procedure for obtaining the A.U.A.
Firms that are willing to obtain the Single Environmental Authorisation have to file a request to the local Office for productive activities(“S.U.A.P.”). The request has to contain all the information required by the laws of the specific area of concern. Subsequently, the Office will send the filled-out module to the competent authority. Within thirty days starting from the filing of the request, if the S.U.A.P. does not reply nor demand additional documents,the request is considered to be presented correctly.
The expiration period of the A.U.A. is fifteen years, starting from the day it is granted or, alternatively, once the sixty days of the administration’s inaction have elapsed.
According to the Administrative Court of Bari (decision No. 643 of2019), if a firm needs to renew an environmental authorisation which has been granted before the Presidential Decree No. 59/2013, it is mandatory to alignall the previous environmental authorisations still in effect with the A.U.A.’s rules.
Modifications to the plant or activity under the A.U.A.
In the case that the firm needs to modify some of the conditions declared in the A.U.A. form – concerning the plant or, in general, the activity it carries out – the manager or the person in charge of running the firm has to inform the competent authority. Then, two scenarios are possible. If the modification at issue is not “substantial”, after sixty days from the communication to the Authority, the firm can proceed with the modifications needed; otherwise, the firm’s manager has to file a request in order to obtaina new A.U.A. The concept of “substantiality” encounters no definition in the Presidential Decree No. 59/2013. Rather, the meaning of “substantial modifications” can be found in each regulation concerning a specific activity,whose authorisation procedure is now replaced by the A.U.A. procedure.