Parks, Liguria eliminates 540 hectares of protected areas: deleted 2.4 percent of four parks

The Region of Liguria passes a law reducing the area of four regional parks-Aveto, Beigua, Alpi Liguri and Antola-by 540 hectares.

Last week (April 9, to be exact), the Region of Liguria approved regional bill 210, which amends regional law 12 of February 22, 1995 to redefine the boundaries of four regional parks, namely the parks of Antola, Aveto, Beigua and Alpi Liguri: the Antola park is reduced by 9.2 percent, the Aveto park by 1.75 percent, the Alpi Liguri park by 0.98 percent while the Beigua park sees an increase of 0.09 percent, and in total the regional area is reduced from 22.607.43 hectares to 22,066.88 hectares: so there are just over 540 hectares of protected areas deleted (to give an idea, the Cinque Terre National Park, probably the most famous in the region even though it is under state jurisdiction, has an area of 3,860 hectares, while the four parks affected by the changes added up to an area of about 20,000 hectares: their area is thus reduced, overall, by 2.39%). The bill was approved with 17 votes in favor, those of the center-right majority, against 10 against (by Pd, M5S and Rete a Sinistra-Liberamente Liguria), while there was only one abstention (Liguri con Paita).

The reduction of the protected area, said Stefano Mai, regional councilor for parks, was decreed to allow for “better management of the entire territory of the Protected Areas,” as well as, added Leghist councilor Giovanni De Paoli, to “incentivize the return of the human factor to the hinterland.” The areas affected by the reduction of protected areas are in fact sparsely populated, and the majority believes that this measure can encourage repopulation of the territory.

Hard, however, the reactions of the opposition: the 5 Star Movement has spoken of a “park-destroying law,” and even from the left there are protests that the reduction of parks would favor the cementing of a particularly suffering territory such as that of Liguria. “Liguria region is the black jersey for protected areas,” PD councilman Giovanni Lunardon wrote on Facebook. “It is a park-phobic law. Others enhance or expand their protected areas. We cut them. We proceed like shrimp.” Opposition also comes from Rome: the chairman of the House Committee on European Policies, Sergio Battelli, wrote on his Twitter profile that the requests of territories and associations have been ignored, and concluded by reiterating “we will stop this abomination.”

A lengthy interview with geologist Alfonso Bellini, who has previously served as a consultant to the province of Genoa as part of the flood trials that have affected the Genoa area in recent years, was published yesterday in Il Fatto Quotidiano. Bellini affirmed his opposition to the law reducing parks, especially because removing protections increases the fragility of a region that has already been heavily battered by ecological disasters in the past and still sees many areas at risk of flooding and inundation: while acknowledging that protected areas are not a panacea, the geologist declares that “an area under protection, at least in theory, gives a few more guarantees,” because “at least the risk of some mayor going crazy and deciding to subdivide everything is eliminated.” As for the fact that parks would hinder development, however, Bellini says that “it has never been seen that the presence of a park is an obstacle to the development of the territory, on the contrary: if exploited well, it can be a decisive opportunity.” If anything, the opposite is true: for Bellini, if the Portofino promontory had not been turned into a park in the 1930s, “it would now be a concrete pour.”

Pictured: the Aveto park

Parks, Liguria eliminates 540 hectares of protected areas: deleted 2.4 percent of four parks
Parks, Liguria eliminates 540 hectares of protected areas: deleted 2.4 percent of four parks

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