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ClientEarth fights to switch Brussels air monitors back on

ClientEarth will argue in court tomorrow that the Brussels authorities must correctly monitor air pollution in the city.

The hearing is the latest development in a case brought by environmental lawyers ClientEarth and five residents of the Belgian capital in September against the regional government. The case focuses on illegal levels of air pollution in Brussels. The hearing will focus on the illegal absence of key air quality monitoring stations in the city.

The law on air quality monitoring

EU law says authorities must monitor air quality in the most polluted areas of cities, and where people will be most exposed to it. Arts-Loi and Rue Belliard have always charted the highest levels of NO2 in Brussels – NO2 readings in Arts-Loi are over twice the legal limit. But since 2008 and 2014, respectively, these monitoring stations have been out of action.

We lodged our complaint in September. In the last few weeks, the Brussels government has announced these two monitoring stations may come back online. ClientEarth and the Brussels complainants are calling on the authorities to make good on this commitment and show their readiness to comply with EU law.

The Brussels case is part of a string of European cases including the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic, with more to be announced through 2017.

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Stanley Nguma

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