Waste incineration plants are considered strategic plants and compliant with the waste hierarchy. The ECJ issued the sentence (http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf;jsessionid=BC80B4DC31FA47053B05F75DD5FF9A27?text=&docid=213860&pageIndex=0&doclang=IT&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=6541383) relative to the appeal presented by some associations against the Prime Minister’s Decree of 10 August 2016 which identified the incineration plants as strategic infrastructures and defined their national needs.

The associations contested this approach and the absence of a Strategic Environmental Assessment considering that the DPCM provided for an upgrade of the plants.

The judges of the supreme court considered that such infrastructures, also considering the overt lack of plants at national level, are consistent with the management hierarchy established in the European directive provided that in the context of an overall assessment that takes into account all the stable obligations in the Waste Framework Directive (such as the limitation of the quantities of waste that can be disposed in landfills every year) – also using the SEA tool to which the DPCM must be subjected as it falls within the more general definition of “plans and programs”.