The Council of State on Wednesday, August 4 condemned the State to pay 10 million euros for not having taken "
to improve air quality.
A record sum that can be renewed in six months if the decision is not fully implemented.
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If measures have been taken, the Council of State believes today that they will not improve the situation in the shortest possible time, because the implementation of some of them remains uncertain and their effects have not been evaluated
”, indicated in a press release the highest French administrative court, increasingly active in environmental matters.
The Council of State will assess the government's actions for the second half of 2021 at the start of 2022, and will decide whether the State will have to pay a new fine.
Several measures taken by the government
Seized by an environmental defense association, the Council of State ordered the government on July 12, 2017 to implement plans to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations as quickly as possible and of fine particles (PM10) in 13 zones in France.
This, in order to comply with the requirements of the European directive on air quality, which sets limit values not to be exceeded for these concentrations.
The Council of State noted on July 10, 2020 that the limit values were still exceeded in eight zones, and had ordered the State to take the necessary measures within six months.
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However, since July 2020, the government has indicated that it has taken several measures to reduce air pollution: launch of a procedure to assess public policies in the area of air quality, establishment of new zones to low emission (ZFE), conversion of the national vehicle fleet to less polluting vehicles, progressive ban on gas or fuel oil boilers… “
If the Council of State considers that these measures should have positive effects on air quality , it notes that questions remain for several of them on their effects concerning the return under the limit values as on the time of this return
”, indicates the French court.
The Council of State further notes that no new air protection plan has been adopted for the areas concerned. However, these plans "
constitute today a known and adapted tool to specify the actions to be carried out and to evaluate in what time frame they will allow to go back below the limit values
", considers the Council of State. The State will therefore have to pay the penalty payment of 10 million euros to the association Les Amis de la Terre, at the origin of the referral to the Council of State, as well as to several organizations and associations involved in the fight against air pollution.