The Czech Republic Supreme Administrative Court has dismissed the government’s Air Quality Plan for Brno, ruling that it failed to provide measures to reduce illegal levels of air pollution in the city.
This is the fourth air quality case the Czech government has lost over the last few months. Similar victories were won in Ostrava, Usti nad Labem and Prague.
ClientEarth supported the Brno case, which was originally brought by two of the city’s residents in 2016.
Responding to the court’s decision, ClientEarth lawyer Agnieszka Warso-Buchanan said: “Once again, the court has proved that air quality plans in the Czech Republic are not working and need rewriting. Hopefully, the Ministry of Environment will now prepare an appropriate plan, which will lead to significant reductions of air pollution. The Czech people cannot wait any longer to breathe clean air.”
The groups had argued in court that the current plan to improve air quality in Brno is inadequate. They asked for it to be scrapped and replaced by a plan that includes concrete actions to improve air quality as soon as possible.
Public interest law organisation Frank Bold represented the Brno residents in court. Petra Marie Ginová, lawyer at Frank Bold said: “The plan does not fulfil all requirements foreseen by the Air Quality Directive. What is missing is the time frame for implementation of the proposed measures, which would assure that the plan meets its goals in a given time. The plan should also contain means to evaluate the measures and quantify their contribution to the air quality improvement.”
Miroslav Suta, chairman of The Centre for Environment and Health, which has been campaigning for clean air in Brno and other Czech cities for several years, added: “Annulment of the current plan can actually be good news for the health of the residents of Brno, if the ministry prepares a more effective plan. According to the health risk assessment, air pollution and dust are linked to the equivalent of nearly 100 premature deaths each year in Brno, more than 100 children with chronic bronchitis and about 50% of asthma attacks in children.”
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. Its main source of illegal air pollution is road traffic.
The Czech Republic was one of three countries which recently avoided a referral to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to address harmful levels of air pollution. However, the European Commission announced that proceedings against these countries would remain open.