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A Major Win for Air Quality in Usti region of the Czech Republic

Czech Supreme Administrative Court ruled yesterday in favour better protection of human health from air pollution in Usti region on the northern border of the Czech Republic. The Court partially revoked the region's Air Quality Management Plan, issued in 2016 by the Czech Ministry of Environment. The reasoning of the ruling has not been made public yet. The plaintiffs claimed that the main defect of the Plan was its low efficiency and thus low likelihood that the Plan would serve its purpose - swift achievement of binding air quality standards A similar ruling was issued in December 2017 with respect to Ostrava and in January 2018 with respect to Prague. One similar case is still pending (Brno, South Moravia).

The court quashed part of the Air Quality Management Plan and also the previous decision of the Municipal Court in Prague, which ruled in favour of Ministry of the Environment. The Ministry will now have to prepare a new Air Quality Management Plan for the region. Expert legal support for the lawsuit, which started in 2016, was provided by Frank Bold.

"The Plan should contain not only measures leading to better air quality, but also the timeframe for their implementation, which would assure that the plan meets its goals in a given time. The plan should also contain means to evaluate the measures and quantify their contribution to the air quality improvement," says Petra Marie Giňová, lawyer at Frank Bold.

"The cancellation of the Plan is a good news for the region and its inhabitants. Air pollution is a serious problem here. I hope that the Ministry will do its best to make a better and more efficient Plan than the one just cancelled," says one of the plaintiffs, Petr Globočník.

The Supreme Administrative Court ruled as the court of second instance, its decision is final and in force. It cannot be challenged by any judicial remedy.

Background:

Ustí nad Labem is an industrial region on the Northwestern border of the Czech Republic. Its main sources of pollution are coal-fired steam power plants, traffic and heating of households.

The European Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, as well as Czech Air Quality Act, require that the Air Quality Management Plans reassure the achievement of the legal air pollution limits “in the shortest time possible”. The quashed Air Quality Management Plan for the Usti region did not provide effective measures to fulfil this requirement. The Ministry of the Environment thus did not meet its obligations set by the directive and the law amd will now have to start the preparation of a new Air Quality Management Plan for the area.

Contact:

Ms. Petra Marie Giňová, lawyer at Responsible Energy section in Frank Bold, tel. +420 734 202 657, petra.ginova@frankbold.org

Frank Bold is an international team of lawyers who participate in resolving current problems of the society in the fields of corporate accountability, system state corruption or degradation of the environment.

 

  

The Right to Clean Air project is funded within the context of the European Commission's LIFE Programme.

 

Contact

Petra Marie Giňová