Last October, the images of the evictions and demolitions of eight illegal houses in Rome, inhabited by the Casamonica family, went around the world. The Romanina complex, on the outskirts of the capital on the border with Ciampino, was seized in 2010 but it took ten years to see the bulldozers in action. Eventually, however, the state enforced its laws. Is it always like this in Italy? Definitely no. Since 2004, only 18,838 of the 57,250 demolition orders for illegal properties have been enforced – just 32.9 percent. For another 2,189 there was the acquisition of building abuses from public real estate assets. Also in this case we are talking about a measly 3.8 percent.
This merciless dramatic photograph was taken by Legambiente and, among other things, it is partial data. The environmental association took the trouble to send an informative questionnaire, by certified mail, to all the Italian municipalities asking them to provide the number of demolition orders issued since 2004, the year following the last building amnesty; the number of executions and real estate recorded in the public property and the number of files sent to the Prefectures in the event of non-compliance within 180 days. However, out of 7,909 municipalities, only 1,819 municipalities responded in full. The elaboration of the dossier Knock down the abuse revealed that, as always, the statistical average like the chickens of Trilussa: if someone eats two chickens, and someone else does not, on average they ate one chicken each. So there are more specific regions by number of demolition orders executed such as Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia (over 60%), followed by Valle d’Aosta (56.3%), Autonomous Province of Bolzano (47%) and Lombardy (44.2%). Others a little less like Piedmont, Liguria and Tuscany (40%) e at the bottom of the ranking are Lazio (22.6%), Sicily (20.9%) Campania (19.6%) Calabria (11.2%) and, Lagging behind with a paltry 4 percent is Puglia. As for demolitions, on a provincial scale, the best performance is for Pordenone (94.8%) followed by Biella (92.3%) and Rovigo (91.1%). At the bottom of the ranking, on the other hand, Nuoro (4.2%), Foggia (2.3%) and Syracuse (0.4%) and, finally, the black jersey belongs to Catanzaro: zero demolitions out of 174 orders. If the circle tightens on the provincial capitals, Pordenone always stands out: it has carried out 100 percent of the demolitions of illegal properties. Same result in Lecco and Rovigo while Biella Biella follows closely with 98.1 percent. Avellino deserves mention, first among the cities of the South, which demolished 48 percent. Please read the data relating to carefully Milano, the only major city to have responded, with just six demolitions carried out against 443 orders (1.4%), Reggio Emilia (3 orders executed out of 383, equal to 0.8%) e Lucca, with no demolition executed against 447 ordinances.
Then there is the data on the transcriptions in the real estate assets of the Municipality to be analyzed. Basically, when the owner of an illegal property fails to comply with the demolition injunction within three months, the building must be automatically acquired by the public real estate assets. Unfortunately, according to the dossier, only 3.8 per cent of the properties officially belong to the real estate assets of local authorities. In contrast, there is Sicily, which leads the regional ranking of properties acquired as public assets (873) where the municipalities have formalized ownership in 19.2% of cases. In absolute values, the second region is Lazio (540 properties acquired), followed by Campania (212), Emilia Romagna, with 135 transcripts, and Piedmont (89). The province with the highest number of acquisitions is that of Rome, with 494, followed by that of Catania (255), Naples (198), Trapani (194), Agrigento (184) and Syracuse (153). Municipalities do not proceed with the transcriptions – comment from Legambiente – as there are no controls or sanctions, with the exception of some rulings of the Court of Auditors which in some cases calculated and charged to the auditors the tax damage from non-acquisition or, worse, from illegal occupation by the former owners.
It is singular – explain the Legambiente analysts – that in Puglia, Calabria, Sicily and Calabria, among the regions most marked by the mafia presence according to our latest Ecomafia report, 43.4% of offenses are concentrated in the cement cycle recorded in Italy in 2019. 14,485 demolition orders were issued (with Campania leading the national ranking with 6,996 culling measures) and just 2,517 were carried out, equal to 17.4%. Basically, five times out of six the abuser has a chance to get away with it. Indeed, if the illegality was committed in common facing the sea, the green association explains, the national percentage of abatements drops to 24.3 percent.
Proceeding with the demolition – explains Stefano Ciafani, president of Legambiente – is the best deterrent to prevent the emergence of new building abuses. The picture that emerges from our dossier confirms the need, which can no longer be postponed, to entrust the State with the task of restoring legality where local administrations have not been able to do so for decades. For this reason, on our proposal last year, a rule was approved inserted in the Simplification Decree which assigns the responsibility to demolish the prefectures given the prolonged inertia of the Municipalities.
An interpretative circular has recently been issued to all prefectures harshly criticized by Legambiente according to which by applying these provisions the scope of action of the prefects is restricted to building abuses ascertained after the law came into force and, excluding all ordinances on which an administrative appeal is pending, tens of thousands of illegal artifacts are destined to remain exactly where they are, as has happened so far. For the green association, the unequivocal sense of the law is confirmed by the 935 unanswered ordinances transmitted, from September 2020 to March 2021, by the municipalities to the prefectures. disconcerting – comments Ciafani – because now it will fail by betraying the meaning and objective of what was approved in Parliament. of the provision, in full compliance with the ratio legis, dispelling any margin of doubt about its application. We ask Minister Lamorgese and Parliament to review and correct the interpretative note of the ministry, reaffirming the power of intervention of the prefects on all the ordinances issued by the Municipalities. To free the country from the scarring of wild concrete and unpunished illegalism, a clear change of direction is needed that only the political class can undertake, delays or missteps are no longer allowed.