Clean air closer for Brussels after top EU court ruling

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Europe’s top court has backed Brussels citizens and ClientEarth in our fight for clean air in the Belgian capital with a judgment today.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was asked by a Brussels judge to look at two aspects of our case, which we have taken with five of the city’s residents, to challenge the Brussels government’s failure to tackle illegal air pollution.

It ruled that citizens have the right to go to court to challenge how authorities are monitoring pollution and that compliance with air pollution limits must be assessed at monitoring stations where people’s exposure to pollution is the greatest, not with an average across an area.

Brussels air pollution ruling – a precedent for Europe

The judgment sets an important precedent for people across the EU as the law is now crystal clear that citizens can challenge how air pollution is measured if they think there is a problem with it.

It also means that the Brussels authorities cannot hide poor air quality in some areas by using a city-wide average. According to an interim ruling from the Brussels court, this means the Brussels authorities must immediately start a work on a new plan to clean up the city’s air.