The Court held that by failing to properly determine whether a project for the construction of a marina had characteristics requiring it to be made subject to a procedure to assess its effects on the environment, Italy had failed to fulfil its obligations under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive (Directive 85/337/EEC).

Annex II of the Directive, entitled “Infrastructure projects” includes “Yacht marinas”, which are therefore required under Article 4(2) of the Directive to be made subject to an assessment, where Member States consider that their characteristics so require.

The marina in question included a mooring for 391 vessels, parking space for 398 vehicles, various services and a shopping centre, having a total surface area of 59,825m2.

Building consent was granted in 1999 though it was not until after this that the Italian Regional Decree No 14/2000 was passed which stated that the project did not have to be made subject to an assessment of its effects on the environment as it did not exceed the limits set out in Italian law.

However the fact that this Decree was passed after the building consent had been issued and further that the Italian authorities had failed to give adequate reasons for their decision not to require such an assessment to be made, resulted in the Court finding there to be a breach of Article 4(2) of the Directive.

The Italian government did not dispute that the Regional authorities had granted consent for the construction of the marina prior to deciding on the issue of whether an assessment of the environmental effects should be made, there therefore being a failure on the part of Italy to fulfil its obligations under Article 4(2) of the Directive.

The full judgement is available in English at this link.

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