By Liam Moloney

ROME--Italy's outgoing government has decided to allow the local population to be more involved in the planning process for new energy infrastructure projects, to ensure they are implemented more swiftly, said a top official Tuesday.

"Essential energy infrastructure in Italy needs to have its basis on strong local consensus," said Claudio De Vincenti, industry ministry undersecretary, at an energy event organized by Enel SpA (ENEL.MI) in Rome.

"If projects ignore the local population, then there will be problems with the executive [construction phase], while if it includes it then we will have results," said Mr. De Vincenti.

Energy infrastructure projects in Italy are extremely slow to start construction work as public opposition to them can cause year-long delays in the courts, scaring away investors.

Last year, BG Group PLC (BG.LN) pulled out of a liquefied natural gas import terminal project, in Brindisi, southern Italy, because after 11 years it still hadn't received authorization to start due to objections from local residents.

After last month's general election, Italian lawmakers are trying to hammer out a deal to form a new government that will replace the current technocratic one of Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Write to Liam Moloney at

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