An Italian governmental committee decided on Tuesday to ban the largest cruise ships from Venice’s Giudecca Canal, in response to a long-year criticism by environmentalists and local residents.
The criticizers from tourism business and conservation groups have been voicing concerns about damage to the shallow lagoon and to the canals.
The new rules, following a temporary limit imposed three years ago, will divert the largest ships of 100,000 tonnes or more to the industrial port of Marghera, far from the Grand Canal, according to Reuters.
There is no interference with commercial traffic, therefore the two activities can coexist, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Graziano Delrio explained. The new route will open within four years though, so that works on the new route are realized.
UNESCO (the United Nations cultural agency) has been calling for limits on large cruise vessels in the region and ships weighing more than 96,000 tonnes were banned from the canal in 2013. However, this was overturned in 2015.
“We want it to be clear to UNESCO and the whole world that we have a solution,” Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro was quoted as saying by Reuters. “This takes into account all the jobs created by the cruise industry, which we absolutely couldn’t afford to lose, and we can start to work seriously on planning cruises.”