South Tyrol To The Protection Of The Countryside And The Natural Elements

Great importance is attached in South Tyrol to the protection of the countryside and the natural elements by which humankind lives - air soil water - as well as animal and plant life. Since the transfer of powers to the Province in regard to protection of the countryside and the environment in the new Autonomy Statute a number of laws and decrees have been issued which play a prominent role particularly in regard to the protection of nature and the countryside. At present a unitary law for the protection of nature and the countryside is being drawn up which will replace the existing specialist laws and represent an effective instrument for dealing with current problems and challenges. In regard to decentralisation the enabling powers of the municipalities will also be expanded.

Besides the "Stilfser Joch" (Passo dello Stelvio) National Park (for which a new boundary is pending) there are seven Nature Parks (with a total area of 123 970 hectares corresponding to 16.75 per cent of territory of the Province). The Nature Park Rieserferngruppe has been extended in Ahrntal (Valle Aurina) to the Hohe Tauern National Park; an eighth Nature Park is planned. In addition there are seven supra-municipal nature conservancy areas.

At the beginning of 1995 94 of the Province's 116 municipalities had a legally binding plan for the countryside whereby depending on the typology of the countryside and settlement between 5 and 30 per cent of the respective municipal area has been placed under special protection. Province-wide 155 habitats (mostly wet areas) and 734 natural monuments (particular trees waterfalls mountain lakes amongst others) were protected. For the Viles settlement areas of the Ladin Gadertal (Val Badia) there are landscape protection plans. Close to nature cultivation of species-rich marginal lawn mountain pastures lark meadows hay and wet meadows was supported for 1 753 hectares in 1994 through provincial landscape conservation premiums. With the "Red List of Endangered Species in South Tyrol" a survey of the situation of 7 398 animal species investigated is available for the first time of which 41 per cent have had to be given endangered status.

The important sector of environmental protection has been rated a priority since the middle of the 1980s. Hundreds of billions of lire have been earmarked by the Provincial administration and the municipalities in South Tyrol for sewage plants main drains and rubbish disposal plants so that the enormous pressure for environmental care in South Tyrol at the beginning of the 1980s could partly be met.

Since 1975 the Province of South Tyrol has had a provincial plan for water purification. About half of the infrastructures provided for therein have up to the beginning of 1995 been put into effect by the Province the municipalities or private associations. Of the sewage plants provided for 58 are in operation 10 are being built and the rest have still to be planned or commissioned. Of the sewage plants in operation 15 may be considered as interim solutions and will be decommissioned after the bringing into service of centralised facilities. Of the total of 970 kms length of main drains provided for about 700 kms are in operation and 270 kms are being built. Great efforts have also been made for keeping drinking water pure (through setting-up individual spring protection areas). Attempts are also being made through special measures to clean up South Tyrol's lakes which are showing signs of severe pollution silting up and eutrophication.

In 1974 the Provincial administration began planning rubbish disposal plants and controlled rubbish dumps. With the 1990 concept of rubbish recycling rubbish management was adapted to modern requirements whereby rubbish avoidance is considered the main principle.

Today in 13 of the planned total of 53 recycling centres the recovery of viable materials from rubbish is pursued. An extensive network of material banks in villages and towns augments these endeavours.

Composting has trod new paths with the use of separately collected bio-degradable rubbish so that from the beginning of 1995 high-quality compost could be produced in the composting facilities of Naturns (Naturno) Katzental bei Eppan (Appiano) Schlanders (Silandro) Tiers (Tires) and Aldein (Aldino).

Further facilities are already planned in Bruneck (Brunico) and Schabs (Sciaves). In South Tyrol 250 000 tons of building rubble accumulates annually. This urgent problem was dealt with by the 1992 Provincial programme for building rubble recycling. Of the five big building rubble recycling installations provided for those of Sinich (Sinigo) and Schlanders (Silandro) are already in operation; two others in Vahrn (Varna) and Branzoll (Bronzolo) will shortly be working. The construction of controlled rubbish dumps in Glurns (Glorenza) Tisner Auen near Lana (Lana) Pfatten (Vadena) St. Ulrich (Ortisei/Urtijei) Bruneck (Brunico) Schabs (Sciaves) Abtei (Badia) Toblach (Dobbiaco) Proveis (Proves) St. Leonard (San Leonardo) and in Tiers (Tires) has been to a large extent concluded. The redevelopment of former large and small dumps particularly the "Kaiserberg" and the "Pasqualihügel" by Bozen (Bolzano) and the Falschauer Dump will be speedily tackled on the basis of a special provincial programme.

In the fields of air purification and protection against noise the Province had already taken legal measures in the 1970s particularly in regard to industry. Sources of emission have thereby been substantially reduced. In recent years the main emphasis has been on the diminution of emissions stemming from heating installations and transport. These measures will be supported by legal controls and through information advice and public awareness projects. A further focus point is the permanent monitoring of air quality.

Examination of environmental friendliness was introduced in South Tyrol in 1992 with Provincial Law n. 27 of 7 July 1992. At the end of October 1994 in the course of simplification of procedures a so-called collective approval procedure was introduced. Any activity not subject to the ordinary UVP process and for which approval is required in more than two fields from countryside soil and water protection air purification noise pollution as well as hydrogeological matters is now subject to this procedure.

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