Based on the European Directive 2008/50 / EC, implemented in Italy through the legislative decree n. 155/2010, the limit concentration of this pollutant, to protect human health, is 40 µg / m³. This value is largely exceeded along the A22 motorway; in Velturno even 50%.
The limit value set by the new regulations was to enter into force as early as January 1, 2010; it was extended for 5 years following a request from the Italian government which undertook to implement concrete measures to reduce emissions.
The extension was granted but the commitments remained on paper and therefore, on January 1, 2015, the new rule came into force in all respects and Italy, having not respected the directive, is subject to an infringement procedure.
In the Program for the reduction of NO 2 pollution, also elaborated by the Provincial Agency for the Environment of Bolzano, it is written that: “in order to reach the NO 2 limit value (40 µg / m³) by 2015, necessary reductions in motorway emissions of the order of 40 – 50% ».
Considering that most of these emissions are caused by heavy traffic, it is clear that to be within the limits, a very important part of the heavy vehicles currently transiting on the A22 would have to be eliminated.
Instrumentally, local and national politicians aim to solve this problem by transferring freight traffic from road to rail, which, according to them, will only happen once the new Brenner railway is built.
This unrealistic solution is however denied by a study requested by the project promoters themselves; this is the public health study ( here a critical comment on the study) drawn up under the direction of prof. Lercher of the University of Innsbruck in 2006 but only made public in 2014.
The study confirms what many opponents of the project have been saying for some time and that is that, even in the hypothesis of construction of the new HS / HC line and even if the imaginative traffic forecasts hypothesized by the ‘work would not take goods off the highway without a serious and comprehensive transport policy.
From the research it can be deduced that the reduction in motorway traffic would be around 19%, thus far from the 40-50% necessary to cope with the more stringent limits in force today. Furthermore, the level of NO 2 would decrease by only 12% in the areas affected by the construction of the tunnel and this reduction would be “mainly due to technical advances in engines and less to the effects of moving traffic from road to rail”.
The data released by the 2013 Report clearly indicate that:
no measures have been taken by the authorities at any level to safeguard the health of citizens living along the Brenner, Inn and Wipptal motorways with a very high and dangerous level of pollutants.
it is necessary to intervene urgently through a serious transport policy that immediately determines the shift of freight traffic from road to rail by exploiting the enormous residual capacities of the historic railway instead of postponing the solution of the problem to the commissioning of the possible and useless new Brenner line .