ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth (FoE) France have written to the French government demanding urgent action to clean up toxic air pollution in the country.
According to the latest figures, France is in breach of EU air pollution law in 20 separate zones. Both nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulates (PM10) are above legal limits, posing a risk to health, to the climate and to the French economy.
A recent report from the French Senate on the cost of air pollution seemed to have galvanised Ségolène Royal, the Environment Minister, who promised “extremely firm” action. To date, no policies to tackle this urgent issue have been announced.
No end in sight
Despite the threat to health, almost none of the French “Air Quality Plans” that the government was obliged to produce have set deadlines for compliance.
In 15 zones across France, almost 2.5million people are likely to be exposed to dangerous levels of pollution until at least 2020. Some zones do not even have precise plans to deal with the issue.
Louis Cofflard, Clean Air Lawyer acting for ClientEarth and FoE France, said: “France absolutely must meet its obligations with regard to air quality and it’s now up to the government to make sure that, across the country, people are given the right to breathe clean air.”