The Municipality of Messina cannot prohibit the testing and installation of 5G antennas throughout the municipal territory by an ordinance. This is the crux of the ruling of the Administrative Court of Sicily which cancels the order signed by the Mayor of Messina in late April and with which the work of Vodafone had been blocked.
The decision goes in the same direction as the measure adopted by the Sicilian TAR at the beginning of July against the Municipality of Cefalù. A significant source of legislation intervened between the two measures – the simplification decree of 16 July – which effectively puts the limits that municipalities must respect in adopting decisions that impede installation network infrastructure and gives a broader green light to 5G in Italy.
The decree will come into force on July 31, but the TAR of Sicily already mentions it among the reasons that led to the decision to cancel the ordinance of the Municipality of Messina, underlining that the jurisprudential orientation followed by the TAR was de facto certificate even by the government. The most relevant part of the decree in cases like this is the change introduced in article 8 of law 36 of 2001:
Municipalities can adopt a regulation to ensure the correct urban and territorial settlement of the plants and minimize the exposure of the population to electromagnetic fields with reference to sensitive sites identified in a specific way, with the exclusion of the possibility of introducing limitations on localization in generalized areas of the territory of radio base stations for electronic communications networks of any type and, in any case, to affect, even indirectly or through contingent and urgent measures, the limits of exposure to electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields, the attention values and the quality objectives, reserved to the State
The TAR reiterated that ARPA is responsible for assessing the health risk and has ordered the release of the installations. Given the consolidation of the orientation of the jurisprudence and in light of the aforementioned decree, it is easy to predict that similar measures will be adopted in other disputes between Municipalities and telephone operators in the 5G market.