The Region of Lombardy

Population: 10 million inhabitants

GDP: EUR 330.997 million (2010)

Country: Italy

With nearly 10 million inhabitants (9,917,714 residents at 30 June 2011), Lombardy is the most populous region of Italy, representing almost 16.5% of the national population.

The distribution of the population in 1,544 municipalities on a total area of less than 24,000 km2 (approximately 8% of the Italian territory) leads to a population density of 420 inhabitants per km2. This value is more than double the national average, and is significantly variable when moving from the most urbanized areas to the marginal mountain areas of Lower Lombardy plain.

  • Key Targets / Successes

    Climate actions and emissions reduction successes so far  

    From the international level to the local one, Lombardy believes climate change must be tackled through two types of response: mitigation and adaptation.

    Locally, the Lombardy Region has developed and is still acting with multiple instruments and actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere and curb global warming. In recent years, the Region promoted several projects and studies aimed at identifying and implementing specific measures to control GHG emissions, as well as interventions for the reduction of local air pollutants in general (PM, ozone and NO2).

    In relation to air quality, an important planning instrument recently implemented is the Regional Plan of Interventions for the air quality (PRIA, September 2013), which aims to prevent and reduce air pollution emissions for the protection of health and the environment. The strategic objective of this Plan is to achieve levels of air quality that do not give rise to negative impacts on and risks to human health and the environment.

    Another important programming tool is the Regional Environmental Energy Program (PEAR, 2014). This instrument of strategic planning will define regions' objectives around energy savings and renewable energy sources (RES) development, in line with the mandatory quotas for the use of renewables allocated to all regions under the decree of so-called "burden sharing", and with the new Community Program 2014-2020.

    PEAR has strong synergies with PRIA, which is characterized by an integrated approach to reducing atmospheric pollution on a local scale, and the simultaneous reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. PRIA provides a contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions even if no targets are defined because they will be identified by PEAR in line with the trajectories that will be outlined for the achievement of the objectives linked to energy saving and renewable energy sources.

    Many studies and research projects on climate change have taken place over the last decade, from the Lombardy Kyoto project (2005-2008) to the recent rsearch on the absorption and removal of greenhouse gases by the agro-forestry ambit in Lombardy.

    With regards to adaptation, in recent years the Lombardy Region developed a knowledge basis to define adaptation measures to climate change with several projects and studies. More recently, it embarked on a path that will lead to a regional adaptation plan. The first step, in 2012, was the definition of the guidelines for a regional climate adaptation plan, developed with the support of the Lombardy Foundation for the Environment, followed by activities currently in place at the Directorate of Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development of the definition of a strategy of adaptation (2014).

  • Current activities

    Energy efficiency

    Regulatory activities for production, distribution and consumption of energy; incentives for energy efficiency of the buildings; promotion and support of innovative systems and companies that offer energy services with guaranteed performance.

    Renewable energy 

    Regional guidelines to authorize, install and manage renewable energy plants, rules to simplify authorization process. Renewable energy authorizations are managed online and a public renewable energy sources database is automatically implemented.

    Clean transport

    Regional planning of electro-mobility; incentives to switch to clean vehicles; rules to promote urban sustainable mobility. For example, Lombardia is the largest Low Emission Zone in Europe. Vehicles with Euro 2 diesel engines are banned during the six winter months, and within 2016 the limitations will also involve Euro 3 diesel.

    Sustainable land use

    Land planning regulation in the Lombardy Region is based on Law No. 12/2005: “Law for territory government”. The experiences of the last decade have highlighted Lombardy Region’s need to reinforce territory governance by promoting a “new environmental and social sustainability in planning”, related to the notion of a rational use of soil. This is as part of a common heritage and non-renewable resource, connected with a better use of abandoned and unused areas, in view of reducing the consumption of free soil and the consequent impairment of agricultural areas.

    Waste management


    Regional planning for waste management, as per Article 199 of Legislative Decree 152/2006, concurs to the implementation of community programs on sustainable development and is drawn up according to principles of self-sufficiency, integrated planning, environmental protection, security and affordability and on the basis of criteria around the flexibility of the recovery and disposal system. In addition, regional planning aims to reduce the amount of waste generated and at actual recovery of materials and energy, foster technological innovation and enhance the experiences of Lombardy’s industrial set-up.

    The planning foresees different separate thematic areas for urban and special waste management, both hazardous and non-hazardous, for packaging waste and for the reclamation of polluted areas. The area concerning urban waste management also covers stream planning, including indications about the final destination of the waste itself and indications as to system requirements to be created in the Region’s territory, also consulting the provinces in this respect.

    Guidelines for the management of waste landfills are being approved, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by both reducing (more rigorous criteria for the admissibility of biodegradable waste, possible option of aerobic waste disposal sites), and controlling methane emissions into the atmosphere (greater efficacy of biogas capitation systems, bio-oxidizing linings, etc.). A methane emission value has also been defined for post-operational disposal sites, to be complied with as a sustainability criterion.

    International collaboration

    On the international side, the Lombardy Region works with several European groups including the Air Quality Group. The activities are carried on with 12 regions of European countries, all characterized by common critical issues relating to air quality, as well as socio-economic factors.

    The regions participating in the group are: Lombardy, Baden-Wurttemberg, Steiermark, Piedmont, Bavaria, Randstadt, Veneto, Greater London, Catalonia, Emilia-Romagna, North-Rhine Westphalia, Flanders.

    In 2015, Milan, the regional capital of Lombardy, will be hosting EXPO. The Milanese edition will be inspired to the theme “Feeding the planet, energy for life”. For EXPO 2015, the GHG emission scenario has been estimated to equal 1,450 ktCO2eq according to the standard UNI ISO14064-1 (2006), suitable to exhibition sites and large events.

    Therefore, a compensation of all qualitative and quantitative interferences on the natural cycle of atmospheric components will be based on the following strategy;

    1. reduction of pre-existing local emissions, by improving energy efficiency or providing renewabley-sourced power to all facilities of public interest and use (schools and sports centers) already present in the area;

    2. creation and enhancement of vegetation and forest systems, with a priority focus on local environment, but biochemically functional to the atmospheric sequestration of CO2 via photosynthesis, in accordance with the provisions of articles 3.3 (Mandatory activities) and 3.4 (Additional voluntary activities) of the Kyoto Protocol (KP); and

    3. use of a non-local carbon offsetting strategy for the acquisition, on the international market, of CER (Certified Emission Reduction) and VCU (Verified Carbon Units) credits, generated in accordance with the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) system introduced under art. 12 of the KP.

    Devolved powers and competencies relevant to climate and energy


    Energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transport and measures for air quality (e.g. LEZ).

    Most important economic sectors

    The production system of the region, despite the presence of the transformation processes of production chains and despite the economic crisis of recent years, has maintained the structural features that characterize development of Lombardy with a predominance of small business, manufacturing vocation and the widespread presence of aggregations of local businesses.

    At the end of 2010, the production activities were slightly below 825,000 units, representing more than 15% of active enterprises in Italy, mainly concentrated in the areas of crafts (32%), commerce and tourism (29.7%), construction industry (17.9%) and manufacturing (13%).

    The productive sector in Lombardy is also characterized by the strong presence of micro, mini and small enterprises, whose average size in terms of number of employees, has remained virtually unchanged over the past ten years.

    Lombardy is the Italian region with the highest density of industrial companies, representing at the same time more than 20% of Italian manufacturing companies, almost a third of the average size (only the province of Milan counts 252).

    It should be noted that the number of farms and industry in the area of Lombardy and involved by the national legislation deriving from the European IPPC Directive, have been submitted to the Integrated Environmental Authorization and therefore meet the criteria and controls laid down by that legislation, also with regards to air emissions.

  • More info

    GHG breakdown by sector (%):














    Current power sector mix (%):



















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