Press release: 23 November 2020

New EU air data confirms current laws do not protect people’s health – ClientEarth lawyers

Environmental lawyers at ClientEarth have reacted to new official data published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA), saying that people will continue to suffer unnecessarily from harmful air unless stricter air quality standards are introduced.

Responding to the report, ClientEarth’s head of clean air Ugo Taddei said: “The last decade has seen air quality improve across the continent – thanks to EU pollution policies – but progress to reduce levels of harmful air pollution over the last decade has been slow. For some pollutants such as PM2.5, it has stalled since 2016 – cutting many thousands of lives short.

“The European Commission must not drag its feet and instead must set a clear path towards ‘zero air pollution across Europe’, including tightening limits. Unless we have laws that are in line with the World Health Organization’s stricter air quality guidelines, we are not doing right by EU citizens.

“Having seen cleaner air during the lockdown, people across the EU will resist being forced to breathe dirty air. It’s time for the Commission and authorities across Europe to take ambitious action and reinvent our cities to better protect people from the harmful impacts of air pollution.”


Notes to editors:

Read Air quality in Europe – 2020 report from the EEA.

As part of the European Green Deal, the European Commission has launched the EU Action Plan Towards a Zero Pollution Ambition for air, water and soil. A consultation on the Zero Pollution Action Plan is currently open to the public until February 2021.

About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.