LIFE Project Cover Photo

Po regions engaged to policies of air

Reference: LIFE15 IPE/IT/000013 | Acronym: PREPAIR



The Po Valley in northern Italy represents a significant nonattainment area for PM, NO2 and O3 air quality limit values. The area covers the northern Italian regions and several urban agglomerates such as Milan, Turin, Venice and Bologna. It is densely populated and heavily industrialised. Around 450 000 tonnes of NOx, 90 000 tonnes of PM, and 250 000 tonnes of NH3 per year are emitted in the atmosphere by a wide variety of pollution sources mainly related to traffic, domestic heating, industry and energy production sectors. Another main source of pollution is related to the nitrogen and ammonia cycle, coming mainly from fertilisers, breeding and other farming activities. Meteorological conditions and the transport and dispersion of pollutants are strongly influenced by the morphological characteristics of the Po Valley and the northern Adriatic Basin. The transport of pollutants is limited by the Alps, the Apennines and the Dinaric Alps. Pollutants are transported across the Adriatic Sea, which influences the atmospheric circulation and the photochemical processes, the main causes of ozone and secondary PM. Due to the meteorological conditions and the morphologic characteristics of the Po valley, the rural background concentration of pollutants is often high, while a large part of the PM is due to secondary production.

Although, all these Northern regions have started implementing air quality plans over the past decade, these plans have not been succeeded in reducing concentration levels of PM, NO2 and O3 to below the EU limits. Coordinated and large-scale actions should be undertaken in the Po valley area in order to further reduce the levels of background air pollution. All the regions in the Po Basin Board have planned actions to reduce emissions over the coming years.


The PREPAIR LIFE Integrated project aims to implement actions in the territory of the Po Valley and Slovenia in order to improve air quality and comply with Dir. 2008/50/EC and the European strategy ‘Clean Air for Europe’. PREPAIR will also contribute to achieving compliance with the National Emission Ceilings Reduction Commitments. The general objectives are to:

  • Implement measures included in the Air Quality Plans (AQPs) and in the Po Valley Agreement, creating the information needed for a preliminary assessment of their impact on air quality;
  • Increase know-how and reinforce capacity building within public authorities and private operators;
  • Strengthen coordination among Po Basin authorities in the field of air quality;
  • Establish a permanent networking structure that involves the environmental agencies of the Po Valley and of the eastern border regions and Northern Adriatic basin, such as Slovenia;
  • Produce homogeneous assessment reports on the effectiveness of PREPAIR concrete actions on air quality in the Po Valley and the Northern Adriatic basin;
  • Assess the effectiveness and resources needed for measures to improve air quality;
  • Create a community that recognises the risks for human health and for the environment posed by air pollution; and
  • Create a network of national, regional and local governments, socioeconomic actors, research centres and other stakeholders.


    Expected results: The actions proposed will contribute to the improvement of air quality on a wide scale. Other European regions with similar geographical and environmental characteristics will be able to replicate them in their territories.

    The PREPAIR LIFE project focuses on four main areas – biomass burning, energy efficiency, transport and agriculture – in line with the Po Basin Agreement and the AQPs. Specific goals are to:

  • Create a network of bike stations of the main cities of the Po Basin and develop cycling infrastructure;
  • Establish permanent infrastructure for sharing air quality and emissions data, including an accessible common database of observed and modelling air quality data;
  • Train public officers and advisors, with the aim of raising awareness and providing technical information to the local authorities to ensure that their plans take into account all types of sustainable transports;
  • Carry out at least one demonstration project to improve quality and usability of the cycle paths and at least one electric vehicle public transport initiative;
  • Promote electric mobility and sustainable driving;
  • Carry out at least three demonstration actions aimed at improving short-range freight transport;
  • Create a common App to promote public transport use at the Po Basin level;
  • Develop innovative processes for the optimisation of freight transport;
  • Increase awareness on the correct use of biomass;
  • Encourage the substitution of domestic heating biomass stoves with high-efficiency and low-emission ones;
  • Carry out training initiatives for the correct maintenance of biomass heating plants;
  • Study wood biomass consumption in order to improve the logistics of its supply in northern Italy;
  • Disseminate best-practices and increase know-how of the installation and maintenance of domestic heating devices, and on energy efficiency;
  • Produce at least one set of guidelines for the use of fertilisers with a high content of urea (reducing ammonia emissions by up to 18%) and at least one tool for the adoption of the best available technologies applicable to livestock rearing (reducing emissions by up to 40%);
  • Provide training on the efficient use of energy in industrial systems;
  • Address operators at the basin level on energy savings in the civil sector; and
  • Produce operative tools and initiatives for increasing the capacity of local administrations on GPP and energy efficiency in public buildings.
  • In addition to the IP budget, the project will facilitate the coordinated use of €850 408 752 complementary funding from EAFRD, ERDF, regional (Veneto and Emilia Romagna) and Slovenian funds.


    Reference: LIFE15 IPE/IT/000013
    Acronym: PREPAIR
    Start Date: 01/02/2017
    End Date: 31/01/2024
    Total Budget: 16,688,439 €
    EU Contribution: 9,974,624 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Regione Emilia-Romagna - Directorate General for Environment and for Soil and Coast Protection
    Legal Status: PUBLIC
    Address: viale Aldo Moro, 52, 40127, Bologna, Italia
    Contact Person: Katia RAFFAELLI

    LIFE Project Map



    • Air pollutants


    • Agriculture
    • emission reduction
    • air quality management
    • biomass energy
    • electric vehicle
    • transport planning
    • air quality monitoring
    • fertiliser
    • mobility


    • COM (2013/0918) - A Clean Air Programme for Europe (18.12.2013)
    • COM(2013)913 - "Together towards competitive and resource-efficient urban mobility " (17.12.2013)


    Name Type
    Regione Emilia-Romagna - Directorate General for Environment and for Soil and Coast Protection Coordinator
    Veneto Region - Environment Department, Italy Participant
    Lombardy Foundation for the Environment, Italy Participant
    Piedmont Region - Directorate for Environment, Management and Territory Protection, Italy Participant
    Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region - Directorate Central for Energy and Environment, Italy Participant
    Autonomous Province of Trento, Italy Participant
    Regional Agency for Environmental Protection and Energy in the Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy Participant
    Regional Agency for Environment of Veneto, Italy Participant
    Regional Agency for Environment of Piedmont, Italy Participant
    Lombardy Regional Agency for Environmental Protection, Italy Participant
    Environmental Protection Agency of Valle d'Aosta, Italy Participant
    Environmental Protection Agency of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy Participant
    Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning - Slovenian Environment Agency, Slovenia Participant
    Municipality of Bologna, Italy Participant
    Municipality of Milano, Italy Participant
    City of Torino - The Management Infrastructure and Mobility, Italy Participant
    ERVET SpA - Emilia-Romagna Territorial Economic Development, Italy Participant
    Lombardy Region, Italy Participant