EU threatens France with court action over air pollution
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France has just two months to act over dangerously high levels of air pollution or face being hauled in front of the European Court of Justice, the European Commission said Wednesday.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said in a statement published on its website that France has failed to comply with European rules requiring member states to limit citizens’ exposure to fine dust particles, known as PM10 particles.
These small particles, typically produced by vehicles, heating and heavy industry, can cause a variety of health problems including asthma, cardiovascular problems and lung cancer.
“If France fails to act within two months, the Commission may take the matter to the EU Court of Justice,” it said.
Pollution limits exceeded in 10 regions
The warning comes after authorities in Paris were last month forced to ban half of all traffic amid a spike in pollution which briefly made the French capital the most polluted city in the world, ahead of regular offenders such as Delhi and Beijing.
The latest figures from the French authorities show that maximum daily limits for PM10 particles are being exceeded in 10 regions across the country, including the cities of Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice and Toulon, said the Commission.
“The Commission considers that France has failed to take measures that should have been in place since 2005 to protect citizens' health, and is asking it to take forward-looking, speedy and effective action to keep the period of non-compliance as short as possible,” it said.
The Commission also announced it has referred France to the European Court of Justice over its failure to comply with EU legislation on the treatment of waste water in urban areas.
Some 17 towns and cities in France do not currently have waste water treatment up to EU standards, it said.