Clean air is essential for a healthy life.

Illegal and harmful levels of air pollution across Europe are damaging people’s health, reducing their quality of life and cutting lives short. We are all affected by this, but some – especially children, older people, and people on low incomes or from ethnic minorities – are more vulnerable and affected than others.

We’re fighting hard to safeguard everyone’s right to breathe clean air.

90%

of people around the world breathe polluted air, according to the WHO.

1/3

of deaths from strokes, lung cancer and chronic respiratory disease globally are caused by air pollution.

What we're doing

  1. Bringing cases against local and national governments

    Where they are failing to act, we bring cases against local and national governments across the EU to increase pressure to reduce air pollution and meet legal limits set to protect human health.

  2. Pushing for more ambitious policies and laws

    We’re pushing for more ambitious policies and laws that protect people’s health, make air pollution a priority and support people to shift to cleaner alternatives . We’re calling on the UK government to introduce stronger clean air laws to better protect people’s health. We’re also working to design more stringent EU laws that will have an impact in all Member States.

  3. Raising awareness about the widespread risks of air pollution

    We’re raising awareness about the risks of air pollution, so governments can no longer ignore the issue and are compelled to take action. We collaborate with experts and civil society partners, and are reaching out to progressive businesses who want to play their part in shaping a healthy and sustainable recovery. In the UK we lead the Healthy Air Campaign, a growing coalition of leading health, transport and environment organisations advocating for cleaner air, and help to coordinate the Clean Air Parents’ Network – a group for parents and carers of children to voice their concerns about air pollution.

Cyclists in London

What we've achieved:

Together with individuals and groups across Europe, we have taken legal action to combat pollution and fight for clean air in 11 countries across Europe.

  • We have made legal history with precedent-setting wins in top courts across many EU jurisdictions, including the UK Supreme Court, French Council of State, German Federal Administrative Court, Czech Supreme Administrative Court and Polish Supreme Administrative Court.
  • We have proven that legal action is a powerful tool for citizens and NGOs to achieve cleaner air in cities. Our successes before the Court of Justice of the EU have established binding precedents that help people across the EU to fight for their right to clean air.
  • In the UK, court-ordered plans have led to proposals for Clean Air Zones to restrict the dirtiest vehicles in cities such as Birmingham and Bath and funding to help and support people and businesses move on to cleaner forms of transport. The Ultra Low Emission Zone in London has also been brought forward and within its first year has resulted in pollution levels that are 37% lower than they would have been without the scheme in place.
  • In Germany, we’re supporting our partner DUH with a number of city-level clean air cases- action has been taken in over 30 German cities. Already our successes have triggered vast changes in the car industry and a national shift to electric vehicles.
  • In Krakow, we won a legal case that saw home wood and coal burning banned – a major breakthrough for local air quality.

58

active clean air cases in Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the UK.

2x

Air pollution is falling twice as steeply in cities in Germany where air quality litigation has been taken, compared with those subject to no legal interventions.
Clean air is a fundamental human need and a right protected by our laws. We are helping people to fight for their right to clean and healthy air.
Ugo Taddei, Head of Clean Air
Ugo Taddei, ClientEarth

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