Highest legal authority in France orders government to clean up air pollution

France’s highest legal authority has ordered the French government to produce plans within nine months to clean up the country’s illegal air pollution.

The order from the Conseil d’État comes in response to legal action launched by Friends of the Earth France, who were supported by environmental law organisation ClientEarth.

Like many EU countries, including the UK, France has struggled to deal with illegal levels of air pollution for years.

The pollutants in question in this case are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10). A major source of nitrogen dioxide in towns and cities are diesel vehicles and this news comes just days after the French government said it would ban the sale of both diesel and petrol vehicles in the country after 2040.

The order from the Conseil d’État rules that current measures are not sufficient to bring down air pollution in the areas where it persistently exceeds limits and they must be replaced by more effective ones.

ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said:  “The decision of the Conseil d’État is a great victory for the health of French citizens.

“The French court followed the example of a growing host of judges across Europe who are protecting people’s right to clean air and holding authorities accountable.”

The French authorities have until 31 March next year to come up with their plans.

Share this...
Share on Facebook! Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn! Email!

Pedro Gandra

Related articles

More from

  • vintage dashboard oil pressure gauge

    Dieselgate, two years on: diesels “worse for climate”, not just health

    Diesel cars emit more carbon over their lifetime than petrol vehicles, according to top transport policy group.

  • coking plant

    ClientEarth launches action to close down polluting coking plant in Poland

    For years, local people have complained about the poor air quality in the area and the increasing incidence of cancer.

  • ClientEarth demands urgent clarification on UK government’s air quality plans

    ClientEarth has written to the UK Government asking for answers over disturbing holes in court-ordered plans to clean up illegal levels of air pollution.

  • woman applying make up for story saying Commission facing EU legal watchdog over nano-chemicals in cosmetics

    Commission facing EU legal watchdog over nano-chemicals in cosmetics

    ClientEarth has today complained to the EU Ombudsman about the European Commission’s unlawful handling of a long-delayed list of nano-chemicals in cosmetics.

  • Follow us


    Get our regular email newsletters, they contain the latest updates on our work as well as features and articles about environmental issues, science and politics.