Committee, a history full of successes
Devero Protection Committee is born in November.
June. Launch of an appeal on Change.org. with the Save the Devero Alps petition! The petition immediately gathers a very high resonance, demonstrating the high interest in the defense of the unique paradise represented by the Devero and opposition to projects that destroy rare territories still preserved. Periodically, the relevant institutions are updated on the adherence of participants.
Alpe Devero participates in the Italian Environmental Fund's "Places of the Heart" call for proposals. It is voted on with more than 3,000 signatures and FAI recognizes it as one of its "Places of the Heart".
The province of VCO initiates the Strategic Environmental Assessment process, which is necessary to ensure that environmental effects are considered prior to approval. At the SEA process, "in order to simplify its evaluation" (so in the Strategic Plan PS-1.2 p.44), the centerpiece of the project has not been included: the cable car connecting San Domenico and Devero. However, the cable car is considered "a fundamental part of the Strategic Plan" (PS- 1.2 Pg. 48).
The first phase of the SEA requires that those with environmental expertise give their opinion: very binding criteria have been expressed on the compatibility of the Plan with respect to impact on the environment and territorial interest and compatibility with current regulations. The subsequent Environmental Report, charged to the proponent, has not yet been published. The SEA therefore appears to be at a standstill as of 2018. VIDEO
January. The Devero Protection Committee is welcomed for a Hearing at the Environment Commission of the Piedmont Region. It presents environmental, regulatory, economic, and institutional objections to the "Bringing the Mountains Closer" project. It is widely reported in the local and regional press. Press release.
May. Despite the very wide and argued opposition to the project and despite the fact that the Environmental Assessment of the entire Spatial Plan has not been continued, the Region authorizes one of the interventions, which they declare part of "Avvicinare le montagne." In the Strategic Plan, the road widening appears as one of the premises to be paid for by the public.
September. The Committee, Legambiente Nazionale and LIPU file an appeal with the Regional Administrative Court against the Region, the Province, the municipalities involved and the San Domenico Ski Srl company. They believe that the excision of one of the interventions, indicated as a premise of the entire project, gives a dangerous start to a series of authorizations before the Environmental Assessment process has been completed. As stated in the appeal, "it should be noted that the applicants are not a priori opposed to interventions to improve the road axis connecting Varzo - Gebbo - San Domenico. They believe, however, that this objective should be pursued by ensuring adequate levels of protection to the environment, according to the community criteria of prevention, correction, precaution; after assessing the objectives and environmental impacts of the interventions." Legally, it was necessary to oppose this ploy that would have endorsed an initial intervention of the entire Strategic Plan without having approval of the environmental impact involved. Press release.
November. Among the Places of the Heart that won the 2018 call for proposals, the Fondo Ambiente Italiano, together with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism and in collaboration with Intesa San Paolo, chose Alpe Devero among the 27 projects throughout Italy that it intends to support. FAI pledges to assess, when made public, the impact of the Strategic Plan "Approaching the Mountains" on the landscape and environmental values of its "Place of the Heart" and protect it from infrastructures and alterations that could damage it. Press release.
January. Hearing of the Devero Protection Committee in the Piedmont Regional Council Environment Committee. In addition to the legal and environmental reasons, the Committee expresses the conclusions of its own studies on the economic return of the project, advancing its reasoned doubts about its economic sustainability. It asks institutions for transparency about the financiers and what guarantees they have taken on the economic sustainability and financial background of the interventions. Press release.
June. Establishment of the Devero Naturalmente Association with the aim of supporting the Committee's action with development proposals compatible with the characteristics of the area. Activities continue over time:
Facebook Group “Naturalmente Alpe Devero”, a community of people united by a passion for one of the most beautiful places in the Alps and who want it to stay that way, free from development projects with cable cars that would distort this beauty. The group gathers more than 2,000 participants.
2020 Organization of summer meetings with tourists on the issues of environmental protection, the special features of Devero, also in collaboration with the Ossola Protected Areas Management Authority: the flora, fauna, Natura 2000 Site, architecture and the Landscape Plan that preserves its special features.
2020 – 2021 Musical events related to the mountain theme
2021 Reading meetings on mountain-related topics
2022 Initiatives and meetings geared toward reflecting on the relationship between humans and the mountains through environmental care and cleanliness, exploration, mountaineering, hiking, photography, research history, and love of minerals
December. The petition reaches the incredible figure of 100,000 signatures, a very rare event for an environmental petition, showing how sensitive the public is to the issue of defending Devero. The committee organizes a Facebook live broadcast attended by 25 prominent personalities from the political, cultural, legal, institutional, and environmental spheres. Speakers include a Member of the Italian Parliament and a Regional Council Councilwoman; the General President of CAI; representatives of major environmental protection associations; journalists; university professors; experts in Italian and European legislation; and mountain and hiking guides from Italy and abroad. See here the VIDEO of the event "The Charge of the Hundred Thousand”. Press release.
April. Numerous among the interventions featured in "Avvicinare le Montagne" are proposed in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan to obtain European Union funding. Funding inspired by green transition, biodiversity protection and restoration, for the benefit of the next generation. Interactive map.
The Italian Alpine Club, Devero Protection Committee, National Federation Pro Natura, Italia Nostra Regional of Piedmont, Italia Nostra VCO, National Legambiente, Mountain Wilderness, and Salviamo il paesaggio Valdossola have made a report to the European and Italian institutions demonstrating incompatibility with European standards and asking to exclude the projects from those eligible for funding. Cover of the report.
Observations and studies by the Committee have shown that the facilities already built in the Upper Bondolero Valley within the EU protected site have negatively affected protected habitats and species.