7 February 2018
A court in Prague has dismissed the Czech government’s Air Quality Plan for the city, ruling that it failed to bring air pollution within legal limits as soon as possible.
The judge at the Prague Court of First Instance argued that the Air Quality Plan (AQP) issued by the Czech Ministry of Environment in 2016 was too vague and the deadlines set for 2020 were unrealistic.
Responding to the court’s decision, ClientEarth lawyer Agnieszka Warso-Buchanan said: “The Czech government has failed to tackle the air pollution crisis in the country but as we can see here, law has the power to fix it and force the authorities to produce an Air Quality Plan that will bring air pollution within legal limits as soon as possible.”
Residents of Prague, legal organisation Frank Bold and ClientEarth have joined together to fight for clean air in the city. They argued that the current plan to improve air quality in the capital 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.
Air pollution in the Czech capital has exceeded European limits for years. To comply with EU regulations, Prague’s AQP should take measures to meet air pollution standards as soon as possible.
Alžbeta Rosinová, lawyer at Frank Bold, said: “We are convinced that the plan doesn’t fulfil all the requirements of the EU’s Air Quality Directive. It’s missing a timeframe to put the proposed measures in place, which would assure that the plan meets its goals in a given time.
“It should also contain the means to evaluate the measures and show how they improve air quality.
“All this was requested in a strategic environmental assessment, but the request went unheard by the government.”
Warso-Buchanan added: “This is a victory for the residents of Prague and for ClientEarth and its partners in Europe who are fighting for clean air. It is a victory for people’s right to breathe clean air and live in a healthier environment – this time in the capital of the Czech Republic.”
ClientEarth and partners are awaiting a ruling for a similar case in the Czech city of Brno.
The Czech Republic was one of the countries recently summoned by the European Commission to explain their non-compliance with EU air pollution laws.