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EU’s top court rules Poland infringed air quality laws 2007-2015

PR dla Zagranicy
Alicja Baczyńska 22.02.2018 11:08
The European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that Poland infringed EU air quality laws between 2007 and 2015.
Photo: mati-foto/pixabay.com/CC0 Creative CommonsPhoto: mati-foto/pixabay.com/CC0 Creative Commons

A Civic Platform-led government with now-European Council chief Donald Tusk at its helm was in power in Poland at the time.

Poland repeatedly exceeded daily and yearly norms on the concentration of pollutant particles in the atmosphere, the court found.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), out of the 50 European cities most affected by smog, 33 are in Poland.

The EU court’s ruling does not necessarily mean fines for Poland, the IAR news agency reported. Poland is now required to inform the European Commission on steps taken to combat air pollution in the country.

If Brussels considers Warsaw’s efforts sufficient to tackle the problem, it will not motion to the EU’s top court for fines for Poland, which could reach billions of złotys, the IAR news agency reported.

Environment Minister Henryk Kowalczyk said in Brussels on Wednesday that Poland would prove that it had taken action to improve air quality in the country.

“Clean air is an important issue to us,” Kowalczyk said, adding that this stance translated into “concrete, clear-cut steps backed by solid funding, expenditures and programmes.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared in December that tackling air pollution would be one of his government’s priorities. Morawiecki also announced that the 33 most affected cities would each gain their own dedicated programme aimed at reducing the impact of smog.

The European Commission said it referred Poland to the Court of Justice in December 2015 over "persistently high levels of dust particles that pose a major risk to public health."

The WHO estimates that around 50,000 Poles die every year due to illness caused by air pollution.

The EU Court of Justice ruled that Bulgaria breached legal air quality limits in April 2017. (aba/pk)

Source: IAR

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