European Commission brings six countries to court over air pollution

The EU is suing six of its member states including Britain for not doing enough to prevent their citizens from being'poisoned by toxic air

The EU is suing six of its member states including Britain for not doing enough to prevent their citizens from being'poisoned by toxic air

The bloc referred Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the European Court of Justice for breaching its limits on air pollution.

The other three countries being taken to court, Hungary, Italy and Romania, are being referred over particulate matter levels.

"Consequently, the commission has made a decision to refer these six member states to the Court of Justice of the European Union", the executive arm said.

The bloc referred Britain France Germany Hungary Italy and Romania to the European Court of Justice for breaching its limits on air pollution

The commission said that Britain had broken limits for nitrogen dioxide, largely produced by diesel vehicles, and had failed to provide "credible, effective and timely" plans to cut pollution.

However, whilst the government has been keen to highlight that air quality is improving in some parts of the country, the announcement from Brussels has prompted criticism from several corners.

The UK is facing new legal issues after failing to follow the European Commission's final warning in January about taking action against their high levels of air pollution, The Guardian reported. "[Environment secretary] Michael Gove should swiftly come up with a clear plan to tackle the diesel vehicles responsible for most roadside toxic pollution and an outright ban on the sale of petrol, diesel cars and vans from 2030".

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"We can not wait any longer", Vella said, warning that Brussels may end up waiting several more years before the countries put measures in place.

Three "pillars" of air quality improvement have been pegged by the Commission: setting out air quality standards, targets for reducing emissions and emissions standards for pollution sources.

The UK government has been summoned to Europe's top court for its repeated failure to clamp down on air pollution. But many member states, especially in major cities, regularly have air pollution far beyond these limits. But Commissioner Vella emphasised that they are not "off the hook" and the Commission will be monitoring their implementation progress closely.

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The Luxembourg-based court can impose heavy fines. The Commission has therefore chose to proceed with legal action. If a Brexit deal is agreed, Britain will be in the transition period and.

Infringement proceedings against Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom were also escalated related to defeat devices used in automobiles to circumvent emissions requirements.

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