Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

European Union threatens to sue UK

European Union threatens to sue UK

This morning, EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella announced that the United Kingdom alongside other member states including France and Germany, are to be referred to the EU Court of Justice for failure to meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution since 2010 (see story).

The European Commission will take France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Britain to the EU Court of Justice for failing to respect air quality limits, the EU executive said on Thursday.

The European Commission announced on Thursday (17 May) the launch of legal action against six member states accused of breaking air pollution limits.

Earlier this year, five German cities took part in a pilot project to trial free public transport in effort to meet European Union air pollution targets and avoid big fines.

The citizens deserve to know what is being done to protect them from polluted air.

The British government faces huge fines from the European Court of Justice for failing to curb air pollution linked to thousands of early deaths in Britain every year.

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Pressure has increased on Italy's environment minister ahead of a crucial meeting in Brussels after the World Health Organisation revealed that three Italian cities are the worst in Europe in terms of air pollution and smog.

The UK, France and Germany are being referred to court for failing to limit NO2 emissions while Italy and Hungary "persistently" have high levels of PM10.

"Addressing the UK's toxic air should be more than just a box-ticking exercise".

Action against the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain has not been pursued as measures being put in place in each of the countries, "appear to be appropriate, if implemented" the Commission has claimed.

Warning that legal action alone will not solve the pollution problem, Mr Vella also unveiled a raft of new Commission measures to help member states promote cleaner air. "We will shortly build on our £3.5bn plan to tackle roadside emissions with a comprehensive clean air strategy". The Commission should have made no exceptions and referred them all. The Commission has therefore made a decision to proceed with legal action. If a Brexit deal is agreed, Britain will be in the transition period and.

Also on Thursday, in the continuing fall-out from the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal, the European commission issued renewed warnings to the UK, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg over their alleged failure to "have effective and dissuasive penalty systems in place to deter vehicle manufacturers from breaking the law". "Manufacturers that keep disregarding the law have to bear the consequences of their wrongdoing".

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