The EIA shows what environmental status changes might arise as a consequence of actions and anthropic pressures, on both the anthropized and natural environments. The EIA thus seeks to estimate the impacts - i.e. the positive or negative modifications - of the actual environmental conditions, caused by the implementation of a given project. An important goal of the EIA's procedures is to encourage people to take part in the decision-making processes for approving projects.
The Italian legislation on EIA is particularly complex, even on a regional scale. The complexity of the legislation is also linked to the preparation of frequent changes to the "Environment Code", which often include revisions to significant parts of the EIA. This regulatory complexity is sometimes the cause of the lengthiness of EIA procedures.
With reference to airports, the procedure referred to in Article 6 of Law No. 349 of 8 July 1986 applies to the Airport system as a whole, and to major works projects if they involve a substantial change in the system and its pertinences in relation to environmental profiles; in the case of existing structures with runways longer than 2,100 metres, where substantial changes are to be made to the airport plan on the increase in air traffic and which entails substantial spatial variations and territorial implications of the infrastructure itself.
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