A ruling by the Regional Administrative Court has given the go-ahead for a TSM Project of new ski lifts in an area protected by the Natura 2000 network.
With a sentence resulting from very shaky interpretations, and which glosses over most of the fundamental findings proposed by the applicants, the Lazio Regional Administrative Court rejected the appeal brought by six nationally recognized environmental associations (CAI, Italia Nostra, LIPU, Mountain Wilderness, Salviamo l’Orso, WWF Italy) despite their motivations being evidence-based and rooted in the protection of environmental and cultural interest.
The sentence is also in stark contrast with the findings of the Ministry of Ecological Transition regarding the incompatibility of the TSM Project with European legislation for the protection of the Natura 2000 Network.
It is certainly not good news, but it will not even be the definitive decision for a project that threatens the environmental inheritance and integrity of the landscape of Terminillo, and has been unable to grasp its true potential. Instead, it has chosen to mortgage its future by actively opposing the sustainable development that the regional and local administrations continually refuse to center in their actions, despite national and international obligations.
The appeal was based on indisputable arguments such as the devastating environmental impact on protected habitats at a local level and the violation of landscape and urban planning rules which exist to protect their integrity. Furthermore, as we have argued since the TSM Project first came to light, it is also economically unviable, and there will be no ruling by the TAR that will be able to circumvent this obstacle.
The Lazio Region has never provided any response on the findings regarding the unsuccessful economic budget of the TSM, nor on the fragility and inconsistency of its ability to produce development of any kind. This neglect of the public administration to evaluate the effectiveness of the projects it finances is occurring again in the implementation of the PNRR, which hosts many projects which will result in a further waste of public resources, and which will sink development rather than promote it.
We remain convinced that the Terminillo deserves much more than this benign neglect and active and the evidence in this sense is clear: winter skiing has been dying for decades – and certainly not due to the action of environmentalists, as one would like to believe – while any claims that climate change will make skiing more viable at low altitudes (such as at Terminillo) are, unfortunately, misplaced. On the contrary, the thousands of people who attended the Terminillo during the pandemic (and who continue to do so) are witnesses of the wide variety of nature-based activities such as multi-season trekking, the diversity of sports and recreational practices, the widespread hospitality, and the quality of local goods and services; all aspects that the TSM ignores by focusing exclusively on the construction of winter sports infrastructure that will only add further blights on the aesthetic value of the landscape to those already present on the Terminillo.
This ruling by the TAR will therefore not cause us to waver in our pursuit of a different vision of the future of Terminillo, a vision that centers sustainable development and which – in the name of current and future generations – will increase our collective commitment to its goals and values.
The associations: Mountain Wilderness Italia, Club Alpino Italiano Sez. Leonessa, Italia Nostra – Sabina e Reatino, Salviamo il Paesaggio – Lazio e Rieti, FederTrek – Escursionismo Ambiente, Salviamo l’Orso, Inachis Sez. Gabriele Casciani Rieti, Postribù, WWF Lazio, Balia dal Collare