Thursday, April 16, 2009

EU withdraws case against Venice flood barriers

Environment News Service: The European Commission is closing its case against Italy over construction of moving flood protection dams in the Venice lagoon that the commission and environmental groups said violated EU nature protection laws.

The dams are intended to reduce the risk of flooding, and so protect the low-lying city, but at the same time they have an impact on the ecological values of the lagoon. As a result of measures now proposed by the Italian authorities to limit the extent of damage to the ecosystems and compensate for the impact, and in view of the objectives of the project, the commission said Tuesday it is closing the case against the so-called MoSE project.

European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said, "I welcome the measures now proposed by the Italian authorities in this case, aimed at limiting the environmental impact of this significant project. We will, however, follow the promised measures closely to ensure they are fully implemented and achieve their objectives."

…Scheduled for completion in 2012, the the Experimental Electromechanical Module, or MoSE, project is designed to eliminate flooding in Venice. The project consists of a system of 79 mobile barriers designed to protect the three entrances to the lagoon. The barriers will stay on the seabed, invisible until high tides and storms are forecast. They will then be inflated, blocking the sea from the lagoon and reducing high water levels. After the threat has passed, they will be lowered beneath the waters again….

High water in Venice, shot by Paolo da Reggio

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