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Socio-environmental project implications

Design elements subject to impact evaluations

Based on the contents of the Master Plan Guidelines, new design elements were introduced – relating to the current airport structure - which undoubtedly will require environmental impact studies:

  • taxiway links to runways, aimed at improving runways and making them more efficient, as well further improving airport safety;
  • development of Cargo City, involving changes to the current airport perimeter.

The environmental impact study concerns the environmental impact of air traffic and the subsequent environmental dynamics related to the current project status and future projections (2030).

Background to the intentions for the planned works

The design plans which determine works requiring EIA (Environmental Impact Assessments) are:

  • Improved efficiency of aircraft ground movements, with improved safety and potentially greater airside system capacity.
  • Increase in the support services for air transport activities.
  • The upgrade and the extension of the cargo infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for transport in the region (all northern Italy), with the subsequent expansion of the airport by about 60 to 90 ha. (compared to 1,220 ha. of current airport infrastructure, an approximate 5% increase).

Environmental impact assessment: specialist studies and competencies

To carry out the specialist studies specifically on the environmental matrices, but not only for this purpose, a highly qualified team was put in place:

  • The Department of Earth Sciences and the Environment - University of Padua and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering - the Milan Polytechnic for water, soil and subsoil issues.
  • The Department of Biology - University of Pisa; the Department of Sciences and the Environment, University of Padua; The Museum of Zoology and Natural History, best known as La Specola -  University of Florence, for flora, fauna and eco-systems.
  • The Department of Environmental Sciences and of the Region, University of Milan Bicocca, for atmosphere, noise and electromagnetic fields and light pollution.

We also launched a specialist assessment on health implications, as well on the public health impacts, robustly following the regulatory framework established by the Lombardy region in this field. We also used the CNR (Institute for Materials Technology and Energetic Processes) to structure and outline this extremely complex topic and track the primary considerations of the general methodological approach.

Subsequently, we set up (still ongoing) a specialist unit including the Department of Clinical Sciences and the IRCCS Community Fondazione Ca' Grande of the University of Milan, which will liaise with the ATS (Health Service) and the Lombardy Region.

The working group will grow further once the EIS and the EIA Decrees have been obtained and will assess the option of setting up a permanent monitoring Observatory in the medium to long-term.

Main points highlighted by the stakeholders in the preliminary discussions

We outline below several points of interest regarding the environment that emerged from preliminary discussions with the stakeholders, and the related points of view stated by SEA.

The progress made on the topics raised and the related initiatives we will undertake are subject to the outcomes of the environmental impact studies currently being drafted.

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) study investigations This is an activity to be carried out contemporaneously with the ordinary management of airport operations. The activities planned for Malpensa will continue as current activities, and can be used, along with other instruments, by competent authorities to monitor the health conditions of the population in the territory surrounding the airport while traffic volumes progressively increase.
Verification of compliance with the D'Alema Decree A report highlighting the actions carried out in compliance with the decree is being prepared.
Assessment for the limitation of cargo night flights It is essential to assess this issue by involving competent management roles able to provide specific input for the development of the Master Plan.
Assessment of alternative solutions for the expansion of the cargo area A feasibility study is being carried out into the implications of 6 alternative solutions, as well as into the ‘zero’, or ‘do nothing’, hypothesis.
Study into the impact of airport development on the water footprint Development issues on which the new Master Plan is focused, including cargo warehouses, aircraft parking areas, roadways and parking, do not constitute elements that significantly affect water consumption. The new airport Master Plan will provide guidelines for saving and reusing water resources to apply in the definition phases of individual projects.
Acoustic emissions connected to the increase in traffic For residents with greater exposure to noise pollution, soundproofing hypotheses are being studied in reference to the current regulatory framework. Particularly innovative solutions are also being examined, such as the NICNES project regarding receptors for the acoustic insulation of school buildings.
Analysis of acoustic and atmospheric emissions connected to vehicular traffic This is an issue that will be assessed as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). All the technical characteristics of the current and final configuration of the airport will be shared with the appointed experts in environmental analyzes, with particular consideration given to the common reference between the Master Plan and the EIS in terms of traffic, aircraft type, airport procedures, etc.
Soil consumption In comparison to the approximately 430 ha of external area acquisition envisaged under the old plan, the current site expansion hypothesis would require considerably less (approximately 5% of the current area), sufficient to meet the expansion requirements of the cargo area alone, expected over the next 15 years.
Landscaping impact of the new planned works Various landscaping and green-scaping hypotheses are being studied, including the potential requalification of the wooded areas adjacent to the new cargo area to the south.
Reduction of the grassland Interventions are being studied with the aim of reconstituting the grasslands of Malpensa and Lonate.
Guarantee of water flow to the wetlands of the Ticino Park A collaboration with the Ticino Park is being studied in relation to a project to control meteoric events of exceptional intensity, by the recycling and the transfer to wetlands south of the airport of excess meteoric water from the airport.
Planting The planting of trees is being studied with great attention paid to airport safety issues (e.g. bird strikes). 

Source: SEA