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ClientEarth Communications

10th January 2019

Air pollution

ClientEarth defends Brussels residents’ right to breathe clean air before the EU’s top court

ClientEarth and five local residents moved one step closer to protecting the health of Brussels citizens and their right to breathe clean air today at a hearing before the EU’s top court.

In an intervention during the hearing before the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), lawyers from the European Commission exposed the Brussels government’s attempts to dodge its obligation to adopt an air quality plan.

They stated that the Brussels government’s attempt to use averages to assess whether the city is breaching legal levels of air pollution, rather than actual readings at single monitoring stations, has no basis in EU law and has never been used by any other European authority.

Reacting to the hearing, ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “Today was a crucial moment in our battle to ensure clean air for all of Brussels’ residents. It is clear that the regional government can no longer pull the wool over the eyes of its citizens and avoid dealing with this health crisis.

“The Brussels government is beginning to recognise it can and must do more and we hope today’s hearing will encourage them to take ambitious action now instead of waiting for a court order.”

The advocate general, an independent advisor of the Court, announced that she will deliver her opinion on 21 February 2019. A ruling from the CJEU is expected shortly after.