In Germany, ClientEarth is collaborating with Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). Since 2015, we have brought 16 legal cases on air pollution over illegal levels of harmful gas nitrogen dioxide, against regional authorities. This has resulted in a groundbreaking ruling of Germany’s top court that paved the way to orders to restrict diesel vehicles in more than 10 German cities, including Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt.
In Belgium, ClientEarth worked with five Brussels residents to challenge the region’s government for failing to deal with illegal levels of air pollution. ClientEarth discovered that the monitoring stations at two main roads in Brussels had been switched off between 2008 and 2014. The case went all the way to the Europe's top court - the CJEU. In January 2021, the Brussels court ruled that the Brussels regional government had breached EU law by failing to correctly monitor and protect the health of its citizens against harmful levels of air pollution. The authorities were ordered to take immediate action to address the issue.
In Italy we have have been carrying out much work in Lombardy, forcing the region to adopt a new air quality plan. Meanwhile, the mayor in Milan launched an ambitious low emissions zone in February 2019 that completely bans diesel from the entire city.
In October 2015, ClientEarth supported a tourist who sued Zakopane, a Polish spa town, for charging visitors an environmental fee despite having illegal levels of air pollution. Polish courts ruled that the tourists had been charged illegally in June 2017 and upheld the ruling in March 2018 on appeal.
In France, the government was ordered by the Conseil d’Etat to produce an air quality plan within nine months to improve air quality in 16 areas, which were exceeding legal limits. This ruling was the result of legal action taken by Les Amis de la Terre, with our support.