Germany and Five Other Nations taken to Europe’s Highest Court Over Air Pollutionby Opinion Express May 18, 2018 0 comments
The UK and five other nations, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania, have been referred to Europe’s highest court for failing to tackle illegal levels of air pollution. The European court of justice (ECJ) has the power to impose multimillion Euro fines if the countries do not address the problem swiftly.
The Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, gave the six, also including Italy, Hungary and Romania, a last chance in January to take the required steps to improve air quality after years of warnings.
However, EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella told a press conference in Brussels the six, which include Europe’s top four economies, had not acted quickly enough.
“The commission had to conclude that … That the additional measures proposed are not sufficient to comply with air quality standards as soon as possible, and therefore are being referred to court,” Vella said.”We cannot wait any longer,” Vella said, warning that Brussels may end up waiting several more years before the countries put measures in place.
Vella had also given Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia a last chance in January to start complying with EU standards and decided to give them a reprieve.
“The measures that are planned or being put in place appear to be able to tackle (exceeded limits) if they are fully and immediately implemented,” Vella said.But he warned the commission was keeping the three under review.
In January, the nine countries were found to regularly exceed emissions limits set to protect Europeans against particulate matter and azote dioxide, both pollutants.The EU estimates that air pollution costs the bloc 20 billion euros (USD 24.7 billion) a year in health costs, but says this could be reduced if member states comply with agreed emissions limits.
Writer: Adil Husain
Courtesy: The Pioneer