(Adds explanation on ruling, background)
MILAN, March 27 A top Italian court on Monday
gave the green light to build a strategic pipeline bringing
central Asian gas into Europe, rejecting appeals by local
authorities in southern Italy who wanted to move the landfall.
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the end piece of the $40
billion Southern Gas Corridor, is slated to bring 10 billion
cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan into the small Italian
seaside town of San Foca in Puglia by 2020.
But opposition from the local town council and Puglia
regional authority had raised jitters that the project, an EU
priority, could face delays.
Successive Italian governments have introduced measures to
try and streamline permitting processes for infrastructure
projects that have scared some investors away.
In 2012, Britain's BG Group scrapped an LNG
terminal it had already spent 250 million euros on, blaming red
In its ruling on Monday, the top administrative court said
TAP's environmental impact permit, awarded in 2014, had met all
the conditions needed.
The court also said the local authorities had been properly
involved in the permitting process with the government despite
the Puglia regional government's claim it had not done so.
Puglia Governor Michele Emiliano, who is challenging former
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for the leadership of the ruling
Democratic Party (PD), has been lobbying Rome to shift the
pipeline's landing point.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Isla Binnie and