European Commission brings six countries to court over air pollution
© WikiMedia (Iain Buchanan)

European Commission brings six countries to court over air pollution

The European Commission [official website] announced [press release] on Thursday that they will be referring France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania and the UK to the European Court of Justice [official website] over air quality.

France, Germany and the UK are being referred to the court due to excessive nitrogen dioxide levels and for “failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible.” The limits on nitrogen dioxide levels were supposed to be met by 2010.

Hungary, Italy and Romania are being referred to the court due to excessive particulate matter levels. Particulate matter levels were supposed to be met by 2005.

Infringement proceedings against Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the UK were also escalated related to defeat devices used in automobiles to circumvent emissions requirements. The Commission is requesting additional information from Germany and Luxembourg related to remedial measures and penalties the countries are considering for the companies. The Commission is also requesting the United Kingdom state what national legislation on the issue is being considered and is requesting Italy provide information on corrective actions and penalties that have been implemented.

The European Commission gave final warnings [JURIST report] to Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK in February 2017 regarding the nitrogen dioxide levels. Also in February 2017 UN human rights experts had called [JURIST report] on world leaders to increase anti-pollution legislation and enforcement.