The Court of Justice rule on air pollution trials

Those who have become ill from air pollution cannot impose European environmental rules to recover the damage from the government. However, citizens can sue their country for failing to comply with those rules, the highest European Court ruled.

European rules such as limits for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide dictate how clean the air should be in the EU member states. But residents cannot derive any rights from this, for example to demand compensation if the air is dirtier than allowed, the European Court of Justice States.

The Court of Justice in Luxembourg disputes the opinion of its advocate general. In May, he said that such a right does arise from European rules. Residents could file claims for damages provided they could prove that the foul air is really the culprit, if it was up to the important advisor. And that would have been different if the government had done serious work on air quality. But the court thinks otherwise.

The reason for the ruling of the European Court of justice was the compensation that a sick Parisian demands from the French government. The plaintiff wants to see 21 million euros because the air in his city is dirtier than the EU allows. Paris, but also many other European cities exceeded the air pollution standards several times in recent years.