On May 19, 2015, the Senate definitely approved the Bill no. 1345 - b relating to "Provisions on offences against the environment" (the so called DDL "Ecoreati"), introducing some important law amendments with reference to the environmental offences.

The most significant modifications made by the new law are:

  1. the introduction in the Italian Criminal Code of new offences against the environment (in the new Title VI bis, "Offences against the environment") and other connected provisions (for example, aggravating circumstances, active repentance, confiscation ,order of recovery); in particular, the new offences are the following:
  • "Environmental pollution" also involuntary (under Sections 452 bis and 452 quinquies of the Italian Criminal Code);
  • "Death or injury as a result of the crime of environmental pollution" (under Section  452 ter of the Italian Criminal Code);
  • "Environmental disaster" also involuntary (under Sections 452 quater and 452 quinquies of the Italian Criminal Code.);
  • "Traffic and abandonment of highly radioactive material" (under Section 452 sexies of the Italian Criminal Code);
  • "Preventing control" (under Section 452 septies of the Italian Criminal Code);
  • "Omitted recovery" (under Section. 452 terdecies of the Italian Criminal Code).
  1. the integration of some sections of the Italian Criminal Code (relating to additional penalties and prescription) and of the section in matter of coordination of preliminary investigations provided for in the implementing provisions of the Italian Criminal Procedure Code;
  2. the integration of some offences provided for and punished by the Legislative Decree no. 152 of April 3, 2006 (so called “Environmental Code”); more specifically:
  • the application of the "condition of non-punishment” provided for in Section 257 of the Italian Criminal Code, concerning the reclamation of the sites, was limited to the contraventions against the environment;
  • the introduction of the new paragraph 4 bis in Section 260 of the Environmental Code, concerning the mandatory confiscation, also of an equivalent value, in relation to the commission of the offence of "Activities organized for the illegal trafficking of waste".
  1. the amendments relating to the company criminal liability pursuant to the Legislative Decree no 231/2001: the following offenses were included in Section 25 undecies of the Legislative Decree no. 231/2001:
  • "Environmental pollution" (under Section 452 bis of the Italian Criminal Code);
  • "Environmental disaster" (under Section 452 quater of the Italian Criminal Code);
  • "Involuntary offences against the environment" (under Section 452 quinquies of the Italian Criminal Code., that are the offences of "Environmental pollution" and "Environmental disaster" committed involuntarily);
  • Conspiracy (common and mafia) aggravated pursuant to Section 452 octies of the Italian Criminal Code;
  • "Traffic and abandonment of highly radioactive material" (under Section 452 sexies of the Italian Criminal Code).

It follows that also entities may be held liable pursuant to the Legislative Decree no. 231/2001, in relation to the offenses expressly referred to in that provisions, with the application of monetary fines, and only in the cases of conviction for the offences of "Environmental pollution" and "Environmental disaster", of the interdictive sanctions, provided for in Section 9 of the Legislative Decree no. 231/2001.