Court finds Brussels not doing enough to fight air pollution

The government of the Brussels capital region has flaws in its air pollution monitoring policy which is putting residents’ health at risk, a Brussels court ruled Friday.

The court said the region lacked sampling points and monitoring stations along some of the capital’s main roads including Rue de la Loi in the EU quarter and the Petite Ceinture. This means breaches of maximum air pollution levels — set in the EU’s Air Quality Directive — could be undetected.

The court ordered the local government to take immediate action to remedy the situation, including installing one or more air pollution monitoring stations along the city’s busiest roads within the next six months or face daily €300 non-compliance charges.

The case was brought in 2016 by five Brussels residents and environmental legal charity ClientEarth over concerns the city was breaching maximum levels of fine particulate matter (PM10) and of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, which mainly come from road traffic.

“Any delay in complying with the order would prolong the risk for the health of hundreds of thousands of citizens in Brussels,” said Ugo Taddei, a lawyer with ClientEarth. “These new measurements will finally provide an accurate picture of the pollution problem in Brussels and the most effective ways to solve it.”

Brussels was recently named as one of the top 10 cities in the EU for NO2-linked deaths.

Air pollution is responsible for about 380,000 premature deaths in the EU annually, according to the European Environment Agency.

Court finds Brussels not doing enough to fight air pollution – POLITICO

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