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ClientEarth Communications

22nd February 2017

Air pollution

Air pollution in Italy: ClientEarth launches legal action

ClientEarth has today joined with partners in Italy to launch legal action against the authorities in Lombardy over the region’s filthy air.

We are supporting Milan-based group Cittadini per l’Aria and health charity AIPI to claim their right to clean air and force the authorities to tackle the public health emergency in one of Europe’s most polluted regions.

The three groups are calling on the regional authority to produce an effective plan to reduce air pollution as soon as possible.

Italy as a whole has the second highest number of premature deaths from air pollution in Europe, just after Germany, where ClientEarth is also involved in legal challenges.

The problem in the southern European country comes mostly from diesel vehicles and the burning of solid fuels.

ClientEarth’s CEO, James Thornton, said: “Air pollution in Lombardy is alarmingly high. It has similar levels of pollution to the most heavily industrialised regions on the continent but is one of the richest. It has the means to resolve this crisis but continues to dither.

“The regional government of Lombardy has a legal and moral obligation to tackle the region’s toxic air crisis.”

Anna Gerometta, of Cittadini per l’Aria said: “Air pollution affects people in all walks and stages of life and it’s unacceptable that people have to put up with it because of a lack of political will.”

The case could be the first of several in Italy and is the latest in a wave of clean air cases that ClientEarth is taking with partners in countries across Europe.

The new case has already attracted the attention of the Italian media.

Having defeated the government in the UK, ClientEarth is fighting for urgent action on air pollution in the courts in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and now Italy.