Monitor stations must be placed where the air pollution levels are the highest. Photo: ©Shutterstock – manfredxy

Court rulings on air pollution

On 26 June, the European Court of Justice ruled that citizens have the right to challenge the air pollution monitoring systems in their cities and that the competent courts (in this case the Brussels court) must enforce EU rules to make sure monitoring stations are located where the highest concentrations of air pollution occur. Average values across a whole zone or city are insufficient as they may underestimate the actual exposure to polluted air.

The ruling follows a case brought against the Brussels government by ClientEarth and five Brussels residents for failure to meet EU air quality limits. The case will now return to the Brussels court for the concluding judgment.

On 25 June, France lost a landmark court case brought by a mother and her daughter to hold the French government responsible for failing to tackle air pollution.

The LIFE Project “Legal Actions – Right to Clean Air”, led by Environmental Action Germany (DUH), recently updated its English background information and added new examples of legal actions around several European countries (link below).

Sources: T&E and ClientEarth press releases, 26 June 2019. Link:


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