Covid-19 and Air Quality in the Po Valley: Online the English summary of the third Report

The English summary of the third report on “COVID 19 and Air Quality in the Po Valley is now  available for download.

In the first months of 2020, the health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent policy measures adopted have generated a drastic and sudden reduction of some sources of atmospheric pollution. The conditions were useful to test some actions to tackle air pollution in one of the most polluted areas of Europe, and, unfortunately, also dramatically affected by the health emergency.

In this context the PrepAIR Steering Committee  decided to carry out a specific study to evaluate the effect of lockdown measures on air quality. The analysis was conducted in three different phases  and this work represents the synthesis of the third one in which the chemical composition of PM10 is examined in the special stations of the project. The study aims to verify and consolidate the preliminary conclusions of the two previous reports and to obtain new elements of knowledge necessary to set up the next planning phase in terms of air quality.

The study was conducted by analyzing in particular two periods: pre-lockdown (January 2 – March 9) and lockdown (March 10 – May 18). To fight the rise of infection two DPCM (Prime Minister Decrees) put in place strictly national lockdown measures on 9th and 11th of March 2020. Lockdown restrictions have begun to be eased across Italy the 26th of April with a recovery of limited activities and the cessation of national restrictive measures on traffic within regional boundaries.

Click here to download the third report’s english summary.

The first two report are available here.

Online the Report of the Survey on Residential consumption of Biomass in the Po Basin

Today february 19th, ARPA Veneto, the curator of the survey  on “Residential consumption of Woody biomasses in the Po Basin”, presented its report in Verona at Progetto Fuoco exibition.

The survay aim at updating to 2018 the assessment of woody biomasses consumption in the domestic sector for the Po basin territory.

A first session of the survey took place last spring, involving more then 20000 families. Last autumn the survey was integrated with a second set of 3000 interviews.

Besides the estime of the biomass consumption, the survey investigates other aspects of the domestic use of woody biomass: the sources of supply, the habits of the users (frequency of use, ignition method, stacking time before consumption, manteinance) and the propensity to buy more efficent devices.

According to the survey’s results, users of biomass in the Po Basin are approximately the 22% of the residents, with a minimum value of 14% in Lombardy Region and a maximum of 45% in Province of Trento.

As far as concern the diffusion of different types of devices, approximately 480 thousand pellet stove are in use in the Po Basin, 470 thousand open fireplace, 460 thousand closed ones and 990 thousand traditiona firewood stoves. The survey estimates approximately 150 thousand biomass boilers, a third of which burning pellet.

Most widespread types of devices are those using air as a heat transfer fluid. Open fireplaces, which represent the lowest energy efficiency typology, are still very common in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna.

Total consumption estimated by the  survey is consistent with the results of the national ISTAT 2013 data but with substantial variations: it exceeds ISTAT’s by 25% for pellet and it is lower than 20% for firewood.

The full report of the survey is available here.

Online the infopoint on Public Buildings: a tool dedicated public servants and authorities

The Public Building Infopoint is online, a portal dedicated to public servants to support energy renovation of public building in all aspects: technical, financial and management.

Infopoint was implemented by LIFE Prepair project partners within the Energy Efficiency action, with Emilia-Romagna Region coordinating the activities.

The portal is structured like an ideal path to the energy renovation intervention: form initial planning/programming, to monitoring and communication of the achieved results.

According to this locgic Infopoint is structured in 5 “Phases”:

  1. Planning-Preliminary acions
  2. Tendering
  3. Financing
  4. Energy performance
  5. Management

For each of the phases, a public officer can find a description of the topic and a set of operative tools that will grant a valid support to the management of the procedure. For each tool a list of applicable regulations is available.

Specific paragraphs are dedicated to Green Public Procurements requirements and available funds.

Visit the Infopoint here (in italian): http://info.lifeprepair.eu/

A common strategy for the Air quality of the Po basin. Online the proceedings of the 1st Prepair Midterm conference

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Last 11th of July, the Regional governments of the Po Basin together with the Autonomous Province of Trento met in Milan hosted by Regione Lombardia, for the first Midterm conference of LIFE Prepair Project.

The conference was the occasion to present the achievements of the first two project years and to take the stock of the situation on common strategies and future perspective regarding air quality in the critical context of the Po basin.

In the presence of Wilhelmus De Wilt as a representative of the European Commission, the participants to the 1st Midterm conference – among them the regional ministers Raffaele Cattaneo of Lombardia, Paola Gazzolo of Emilia Romagna, Matteo Marnati of Piemonte – discussed what has been done so far and the future perspective taking into account the recent signature of the protocl for air quality signed by the italian regional governments and the national ministry of environment at the Clean Air Dialogue in Turin, nearly a month ago.

The morning was dedicated  to present the advancement of the actions and the achievements of Prepair project. The project activities helped making clear that reducing the emission of pollutants by 40% in the Po basin is feasable, given the fast implementation of the action already planned and the use of new advanced technologies.

Among the results it was presented the first survey on the perception of air quality for the Po Basin.

An informal Networking session took place during lunch break with the participation of some of the projects part of the Prepair Network.

The afternoon section was more oriented to the perspectives and political strategies that were discussed in a round table by the representatives of the Po basin local governments and project partners.

Go to the speakers’ slides

Go to the video summary of the day (in italian)

Go to the video interviews (in italian)

Go to the gallery

 

 

“Citizen and air quality”. Survey’s results available

The first survey on the citizens’ perception of the Air quality at Po Basin level.

On Thursday, July the 11th, at the Testori Auditorium in Milan, within the international conference “The Po basin together for the quality of air”, Marco Ottolenghi of Art-ER presented the results of “Citizen and Air Quality”, The first survey on the citizens’ perception of the Air quality at Po Basin level. The survey was carried out within the activities of Prepair project, ART-ER was responsible for the action.

The survey start from the fact that over 23 million people (40% of the population in Italy) live in the regions of the Po valley basin and over 50% of the Italian GDP is produced here. The atmospheric emissions in this basin are thus significant. However they are lower than the European Union average and in line with those of the most advanced countries, if compared to GDP or the number of inhabitants. This is a sign that the technological standards and management practices are among the most advanced.

Despite this, the orographic conformation and the particular meteorological and climatic conditions of the basin make the dispersion of pollutants particularly difficult, with above threshold values for dust, nitrogen oxides and ozone.

Atmospheric pollution in this area of Italy goes beyond local boundaries and requires a supra-regional approach- Integrated and coordinated measures need to be introduced over a vast area in order to reduce emissions and thus obtain a decrease of pollutant concentrations in the atmosphere.

“Valuta l’aria”‘s Survey (evaluate the air) inteded to investigate on the perception and awareness of citizens regarding the Air quality issue with a focus on the factors perceived as the main cause of air pollutions.

How do citizens in the Po Basin perceive this problem? Are they aware that many actions to improve air quality are closely linked to their lifestyle? How willing are they to change their habits? And above, how can local authorities get them to change these habits?

These are some of the questions covered by the survey which took place from 23 November 2018 to 10 January  2019 and aroused great interest in the entire area of the Po basin.  A total of 7,331 citizens voluntarily filled in the questionnaire. All 42 cities (provincial capitals) in the basin were involved, where a total of 6.5 million inhabitants live.

The results of the survey are avilable here:

Executive summary

Full report (italian)

Ammonia emissions and farms – PREPAIR launches an innovative tool for estimating emissions based on the techniques used in intensive farming

The software “BAT-Tool” is available online, and it has been realized within the project’s actions of the agricultural sector.  The calculation tool makes it possible to estimate ammonia emissions starting from the data on the techniques applied in intensive pig and poultry farming and to compare different scenarios, providing also simplified information on other gases emitted by the plants.

The BAT-Tool software is a supporting tool in the review procedures of the Integrated Environmental Authorizations and for other obligations that require an assessment of emissions. It represents a first step towards the creation of a common farms emissions evaluation model of the Po basin, foreseen as a project output. Its final version will include other species bred in farms and other pollutants, and it will have an integrated approach between the different environmental components.

The BAT-Tool has been developed by the Emilia-Romagna Region together with the working group of PREPAIR, it has already undergone a test phase that involved technical experts of the sector in different regions and allowed to develop different aspects. The tool is now freely accessible after registering at the following link: http://www.crpa.it/battool

Among the already active functions, it is possible for plants manager to export the data inserted and use them for the presentation of questions or requests.

The user manual can be downloaded by our website’s page dedicated to the agricultural actions (Italian only).

Approved a common monitoring protocol: the first result of PREPAIR monitoring actions

Monitoring the implementation and results of air quality actions in the Po valley in a coordinated and homogeneous way is the strategic target pursued by the Italian regions and provinces of the project (Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Valle d’Aosta, Province of Trento), which approved a common monitoring protocol to adopt experimentally at least until 2023 and to implement through a specific web application that will be developed by ERVET.

This is the first expected result of PREPAIR within the monitoring actions of air quality, preparatory to the evaluation of the relative emission impacts.

The monitoring protocol foresees a common structure of responsibilities, deadlines and monitoring indicators and the use of a web platform that will allow to report the actions and to monitor their implementation status. It will therefore be possible to evaluate and communicate the achieved results at the Po basin level. The indicators used will give a framework of the policy instruments activated and of the financial resourced used, of the impacts on the territory and of the reduction of polluting emissions.

The 427 measures already planned by the regions through their air quality plans or other plans and programs and through the Po basin agreements for the quality of air of 2013 and 2017 with the Ministry of the Environment will be monitored. These measures refer to all the impacting sectors such as mobility, industry, energy efficiency of residential buildings, biomass combustion and agriculture.

The new antismog agreement for the improvement of air quality in the Po Basin was signed in Bologna

The international launch conference of PREPAIR ended with an important institutional moment: the Italian Minister of the Environment Gian Luca Galletti together with the regions of Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto signed the “New agreement for the coordinated adoption of measures for the improvement of air quality in the Po Basin”. Heart of this agreement is the common fight against air pollution, a particular intense problem in Northern Italy. The agreement aims at structural measures to be developed in the same way within the four regions – homogeneous rules of access in the “limited traffic zones”, car-sharing,  cycle-pedestrian mobility, diffuse distribution of alternative fuels, restrictions on circulation – in order to give concrete answers to an area of over 23 million residents (40% of the Italian population).  The management of emergency situations related to the overcoming of the PM10 pollution limits has also been shared, with common and homogeneous temporary prohibitions.

The agreement has been signed by the Italian Minister of the Environment, Gian Luca Galletti, and by the Presidents of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Stefano Bonaccini, and Piedmont Region, Sergio Chiamparino, and by the regional environmental ministers of Lombardy Region, Claudia Terzi, and Veneto Region, Gianpaolo Bottacin. The regional environmental ministers of Emilia-Romagna, Paola Gazzolo, and Piedmont, Alberto Valmaggia, were also there.

The new anti-smog agreement will be signed on June 9 in Bologna

On June 9 2017, during the second day of the initial conference of PREPAIR within the side-events of the G7 Environment, a very important milestone will be achieved in the Po Basin.

The Italian Minister of the Environment and of the Guardianship of the Territory and the Sea, Gian Luca Galletti, will sign together with the Regions of Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto the new anti-smog agreement. This very important institutional moment has a precise target: effective and shared measures for fighting air pollution through actions addressed to the most critical impact areas for the quality of air and also through initiatives to adopt in case of very critical events.