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Friday, February 3, 2023

No compensation for individuals ill from air pollution – EU court

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Thursday, December 22, 2022, ruled that a person who falls ill because of polluted air cannot claim compensation from the state.

air Pollution
Vehicular traffic is a major source of air pollution in Germany

The judges ruled that the European directives on air quality do not confer any rights on individuals that could lead to compensation for damages.

However, it said citizens must be able to be sure that national authorities take measures to ensure clean air.

The decision follows a lawsuit by a Parisian who had demanded €21 million ($22.3 million) in damages from the French state because increasing air pollution in the Paris metropolitan area has damaged his health.

In his opinion, the state must be liable because it did not ensure that EU-wide limit values were complied with.

The advocate-general at the ECJ seemed to back this view in her opinion a few months ago.
Both France and Germany have been reprimanded by the ECJ in the past for exceeding the limit values for the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide.

However, the ECJ did not share the view of its expert and denied a claim for damages.

The court said the air quality directives oblige the EU states to ensure clean air,h owever, these obligations serve the general objective of protecting human health and the environment as a whole.

They do not confer rights on individual citizens the, court said, adding that state does not have to compensate its citizens.

The ECJ explicitly did not rule out that countries could be liable under national regulations.

It also recalled that individuals must have the right to seek measures from the authorities, such as an air pollution control plan.

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