EU sues six countries including Britain for exposing their citizens to too much air pollution

The EU is suing six of its member states including Britain (pictured) for not doing enough to prevent their citizens from being 'poisoned by toxic air'

By Nic White For Mailonline

17 May 2018

Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Romania sent to Court of Justice

EU says it couldn’t wait any longer for them to get pollution to acceptable levels

If ECJ finds them in breach of rules they can be fined billions of euros

More than 130 cities in 23 of the 28 EU members exceed air quality standards

Britain says only its NO2 levels are above agreed levels and it was working to fix

The EU is suing six of its member states for not doing enough to prevent their citizens from being ‘poisoned by toxic air’.

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

The six nations face billions of euros in fines after EU officials grew tired of them failing to clean up their act eight years after deadlines.

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

EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said he had waited a long time and ‘couldn’t possibly wait any longer’ to take action. 

‘The member states referred to the Court today have received sufficient ‘last chances’ over the last decade to improve the situation,’ he said.

‘It is my conviction that today’s decision will lead to improvements for citizens on a much quicker timescale.’

Mr Vella said the commission would also provide the countries with ‘practical help’ on how to promote cleaner air in their cities.

The commission said 400,000 premature deaths a year were linked to polluted air and 130 cities in 23 of the 28 EU members exceed air quality standards.

The ECJ will hear the countries’ cases over the next two years but may fast-track the matter if it felt the health of citizens was at risk.

The six nations face billions of euros in fines after EU officials grew tired of them failing to clean up their act eight years after deadlines

German (pictured) Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government was ‘on the right track’ with fewer cities below EU benchmarks

If they were found in breach of EU rules they would be given time to reach certain benchmarks or be fined for every day they failed to.

Though Britain is leaving the EU, it is still under the ECJ’s jurisdiction and it would take time for this position to change.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the move, calling it long overdue and ’embarrassing’ for the governments involved.

‘This long-overdue announcement shows governments they cannot go on allowing citizens to be poisoned by toxic air,’ Brussels-based advocate Julia Poliscanova said.

Britain’s environment department said it was moving to clamp down on air pollution and did not agree it was grossly in breach of EU rules.

EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said he had waited a long time and ‘couldn’t possibly wait any longer’ to take action

This map shows concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in the lower atmosphere as detected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument aboard the Aura satellite

Source:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5741435/EU-sues-six-countries-billions-euros-breaching-air-pollution-rules.html

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