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Brussels asks advice from EU on air quality case

Dec 19, 2017
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A Brussels court has decided to ask advice from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concerning the suit filed by five citizens against the Brussels-Capital Region last year. The five claimed that the regional government was not complying with European norms on air quality.

The group, represented by the environmental law firm Client Earth said that Brussels’ Air, Climate and Energy Plan did not satisfy EU regulations. The court agreed with some of Client Earth’s claims, stating that Brussels’ plan does not contain adequate measures for addressing situations in which air pollution levels are exceeded.

Client Earth maintains that Brussels is measuring air quality in a way that minimises its impact, such as avoiding taking samples in the most polluted parts of the city.

The court is submitting two questions to the ECJ: Can a regional court rule that air quality measurements used by the local government have been organised in a way that distorts reality, and can it rule that measurements be taken in certain areas with the worst pollution.

“The region should listen to this most obvious warning by the court and take action to create a real air quality plan that conforms to the standards of the EU,” said Ugo Taddei of Client Earth. “The longer it waits, the greater the damage becomes to everyone who lives and works in Brussels.”

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