[JURIST] The European Commission [official website] gave final warnings [press release] to Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK Wednesday for failing to address air pollution. The countries have repeatedly failed to meet the NO2 air pollution limits, as set by Directive 2008/50/EC [Text, PDF]. The limits were exceeded by 28 air quality zones in Germany, 19 air quality zones in France, 16 air quality zones in the UK, 12 air quality zones in Italy and three air quality zones in Spain. The European Commission has stated that the countries have two months to act, otherwise the European Commission may file a claim in the European Court of Justice. The countries are able to address the air pollution may any means the country feels is appropriate. The deadline for meeting the NO2 levels was 2010. There are currently ongoing infringement cases against Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK related to NO2 levels. In total, 23 out of 28 member states are violating the air quality standards.
Air pollution in Europe has been an ongoing concern for many years. In November the UK High Court ruled [JURIST report] that the five-year plan the UK created in 2015 after another lawsuit regarding air pollution was not adequate in achieving appropriate reductions in air pollution. The European Environment Agency reported [JURIST report] in November that the UK had the second highest number of premature deaths from air pollution in the European Union. The European Commission has previously taken legal action against the UK over air pollution in 2014 and 2010 [JURIST reports].