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Italy not waiting for time and tide Housing benefits

Letters

With reference to the article New Venice flood plan submitted (NCE 15 March), the Italian government's cabinet met on 15 March to discuss options for protecting Venice from excessive tidal incursion.

It was unanimously decided to proceed with measures promoted by the ministries both of public works and for the environment, speeding up co-ordination of complementary measures for sea defences and tidal control and diverse works already being carried out in the Lagoon.

It has been decided to correct and update the project for mobile tide barriers at the three entrances to the Lagoon known as Modulo Sperimentale Elettronco dating from 1984.

The minister for public works Nerio Nesi says the updated plans for the executive phase will be ready in a few months.

Experimenting with narrowing the lagoon entrances, while devising ways to maintain the exchange of water to prevent pollution, are to be put in hand by the Ufficio di Piano (project directorate).

These plans were set up by the inter-ministerial committee two years ago but never became operative.

Work to clean flooded canals and raise quaysides in zones where flooding occurs will also continue. The superintendent for architecture and environment has emphasised the importance of these measures, supporting the views of the Italian World Wildlife Fund which has been campaigning for the lagoon to be designated a nature reserve.

In a situation of stalemate where it seemed impossible to reconcile diverse opinions, the government has skilfully devised a way ahead which, despite inevitable grousing, moves the agenda into forward gear before the national elections on 13 May.

Lady Frances Clarke, president, Venice in Peril, Dorsoduro 1113, 30123, Venice

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