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03/12/2012
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Milan Administration restored the Congestion Charge (Area C). The RSE scientific opinion

Milan Administration restored the Congestion Charge (Area C). The RSE scientific opinion

Researchers at RSE have developed studies to assess the impact of measures of the congestion charge, as Area C, recently reintroduced in Milan.


After two months of suspension the Public Administration of Milan has restored Area C, the congestion charges applied in the city center, suspended in late July by a judge's ruling. The decision has brought to public attention the issue of the impact of these measures on air quality and emissions of pollutants. Topics that have been the subject of numerous researches of RSE - the main Italian research center on the electro-energy which has its headquarters in Milan.

As part of a study funded by the Lombardy Region and coordinated by JRC - Joint Research Centre in Ispra (project POMI), RSE has developed a detailed assessment of the role of the main emission sources present in the Po Valley and in particular in Milan area. In summary, from the RSE research emerges as the total concentration of PM2.5 recorded to a specific receptor is produced by the contribution of different categories and emissive areas.

It is therefore not possible to identify a single source responsible for the problem as "particulate matter". Policies to reduce emissions from local sources, particularly in the Po basin, can reach the expected effectiveness only if integrated into a wider program of action with articulated interventions, which require, in particular those on mobility. These policies produced significant financial resources and commitment to the medium and long term. The presence of particulate matter in the atmosphere is determined by the complex interaction of several factors, both meteorological and anthropogenic, that make it difficult to identify reliable and effective solutions to a problem that for many years had a negative impact on quality of life in large areas.

The analysis has shown that road transport is one of the most significant contributions to concentrations of particulate air pollution PM2.5. The entire complex of emissions from transport in Valley area, contributes at least 20% of the total annual average concentration of a large part of the Po Valley and the contribution up to 35% in Milan. The analysis also showed the character of the problem of strong inter-particulate, meaning that the concentration observed in a certain point is determined not only by the local sources, but from the basin as a whole. In particular, the study showed that in Milan the contribution of the sources of the city itself produces about 25% of the total concentration. Considering the whole "critical zone" this contribution rises to around 40%.

Were also evaluated the roles of the individual compounds that make up the PM2.5, as well as its overall concentration, pinning the attention on the so-called Black Carbon (BC), one of the species most dangerous to human health. Model simulations show that the source "City of Milan" accounts for almost 50% of the total concentration of BC recorded in the city and the only transport sector will contribute to 25%. These percentages rise further if one considers the critical area as a whole. The result obtained is easily explained by considering that the BC, unlike the PM2.5 overall, is in exclusively primary in nature and-as such-is most influenced by the contribution of the local sources.