Global News

European Union to take six countries to the court over air quality standards

European Union to take six countries to the court over air quality standards

The bloc referred Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the European Court of Justice for breaching its limits on air pollution.

Ministers from all nine countries were summoned to a meeting in Brussels in January to outline how they meant to meet their targets.

The commission had given the six countries - which also includes Italy, Hungary and Romania - a last chance in January to take long-sought steps to improve air quality or be hauled before the European Court of Justice.

"This long-overdue announcement shows governments they can not go on allowing citizens to be poisoned by toxic air", Julia Poliscanova from sustainable transport group Transport & Environment, said in an email. Our decision follows through on that claim.

'It is my conviction that today's decision will lead to improvements for citizens on a much quicker timescale'. But legal action alone will not solve the problem.

The EU estimates that air pollution costs the bloc 20 billion euros ($24.7 billion) a year in health costs, but says this could be reduced if member states comply with agreed emissions limits.

“…data shows we are improving thanks to our efforts to bring levels of NO2 down,” Defra has said
“…data shows we are improving thanks to our efforts to bring levels of NO2 down,” Defra has said

Germany, France and the United Kingdom were sent to the European Court of Justice for breaching EU standards for nitrogen dioxide limits. But many member states, especially in major cities, regularly have air pollution far beyond these limits.

However, a country may overstep this daily standard up to 35 times a year. Spain, Slovakia and the Czech Republic dodged that fate for now.

France said noted the lawsuit and stressed its determination to slash its air pollution as as soon as possible to prevent it going forward. But Commissioner Vella emphasised that they are not "off the hook" and the Commission will be monitoring their implementation progress closely.

The Commission said it was standing up for the right of citizens to breath clean air. Bulgaria and Poland, which have also failed to take action, have already been taken before the top court. Recently, there were accusations that the EU was unfairly targeting Eastern Europe, where fossil fuels still reign supreme, but today's ruling for the first time names and shames Western European countries.

Today's announcement should surprise no one, the countries being sent to the court have had too many final warnings", said European Environmental Bureau Air Quality Policy Officer Margherita Tolotto, who added that "it is essential to understand why some governments, but not others. have been sent to court today.

The Commission is also issuing additional letters of formal notice to Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom on grounds that they have disregarded European Union vehicle-type approval rules.

The Red Hydrogen One will debut on Verizon and AT&T
They will be previewing the phone to the public showing games, movies, and other content that will be available on it. Another detail missing from the carriers' announcements is how much you can expect to pay for the Hydrogen One.


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