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EU Court of Justice: Romania has systematically breached air pollution limits in Bucharest

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled last week that Romania has not fulfilled its obligations to improve air quality. The Court said that the country has "systematically and persistently" breached pollution limits for PM10 concentrations in Bucharest, local Digi24 reported.

The decision was taken in a lawsuit opened by the European Commission against Romania.

"By exceeding the daily limit values for PM10 concentrations systematically and persistently from 2007 until at least 2016, on the one hand, and by exceeding the annual limit values for PM10 concentrations systematically and persistently from 2007 until 2014 inclusive, with the exception of 2013, in the RO32101 area (Bucharest, Romania)," Romania has failed to fulfill its obligations under Article 13 (1) of Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, and also failed to fulfill its obligation to keep the exceedance period as short as possible, the Court said.

The decision does not set a fine to be paid by Romania for breaching the European air quality treaty and legislation, only the obligation to comply with them, according to G4media.ro. However, the Court ordered Romania to cover the legal fees.

Romania's minister of environment Costel Alexe confirmed CJEU's ruling in a press release and said that Romania was condemned because the Bucharest City Hall failed to reduce PM10 pollution in the city.

"This is the result of several years of dialogue with the European Commission. The Commission has been patient with us on this issue as well! It waited a few years for the Bucharest City Hall to approve a Plan to reduce PM10 pollutants. Then, after the Capital City Hall managed to finalize the Plan, it waited to see it applied and able to control the PM10 concentrations. Unfortunately, the measures implemented before the Court's referral did not improve the situation in Bucharest - this being one of the Court's conclusions," Alexe said.

"Today's ruling of the Court was predictable! It was predictable since the Court refused Romania's oral defense in the final phase of the trial. Then, it was to be expected because, even now, when we are talking, there are still measures in the City Hall Plan with zero degrees of implementation and deadlines exceeded by one year: special lane for public transport, bicycle lanes that connect all areas of Bucharest, road infrastructure and much more," he added.

The minister also said that PM10 concentrations had been exceeded in Bucharest even during the state of emergency. He explained that the Environment Ministry had sent 16 warnings on high PM10 levels since the beginning of the year, and seven of them were sent during the state of emergency. However, none of these warnings were followed by "immediate measures by the City Hall to reduce the pollutant and shorten the exceedance period."

On the other hand, the Bucharest City Hall said that "the period for which the Court of Justice of the European Union condemned Romania - for the pollution in Bucharest - was generated by the non-observance of the air quality conditions imposed by the European legislation in a period before the current mandate - (7 years of non-compliance respectively 2007-2014, when the general mayors were Adriean Videanu and Sorin Oprescu)," Digi24 reported.

Bucharest general mayor Gabriela Firea said that the City Hall focused its efforts "on implementing effective measures to reduce pollution in the Romanian Capital." She mentioned the Integrated Air Quality Plan, which includes the modernization of the public transport and special lanes for public transportation, intelligent traffic lights, new bike lanes, and the vouchers for bicycles, as well as several investments in the road infrastructure.

[email protected]

(Photo source: Mihocphoto/Dreamstime.com)

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Newsroom

EU Court of Justice: Romania has systematically breached air pollution limits in Bucharest

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled last week that Romania has not fulfilled its obligations to improve air quality. The Court said that the country has "systematically and persistently" breached pollution limits for PM10 concentrations in Bucharest, local Digi24 reported.

The decision was taken in a lawsuit opened by the European Commission against Romania.

"By exceeding the daily limit values for PM10 concentrations systematically and persistently from 2007 until at least 2016, on the one hand, and by exceeding the annual limit values for PM10 concentrations systematically and persistently from 2007 until 2014 inclusive, with the exception of 2013, in the RO32101 area (Bucharest, Romania)," Romania has failed to fulfill its obligations under Article 13 (1) of Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, and also failed to fulfill its obligation to keep the exceedance period as short as possible, the Court said.

The decision does not set a fine to be paid by Romania for breaching the European air quality treaty and legislation, only the obligation to comply with them, according to G4media.ro. However, the Court ordered Romania to cover the legal fees.

Romania's minister of environment Costel Alexe confirmed CJEU's ruling in a press release and said that Romania was condemned because the Bucharest City Hall failed to reduce PM10 pollution in the city.

"This is the result of several years of dialogue with the European Commission. The Commission has been patient with us on this issue as well! It waited a few years for the Bucharest City Hall to approve a Plan to reduce PM10 pollutants. Then, after the Capital City Hall managed to finalize the Plan, it waited to see it applied and able to control the PM10 concentrations. Unfortunately, the measures implemented before the Court's referral did not improve the situation in Bucharest - this being one of the Court's conclusions," Alexe said.

"Today's ruling of the Court was predictable! It was predictable since the Court refused Romania's oral defense in the final phase of the trial. Then, it was to be expected because, even now, when we are talking, there are still measures in the City Hall Plan with zero degrees of implementation and deadlines exceeded by one year: special lane for public transport, bicycle lanes that connect all areas of Bucharest, road infrastructure and much more," he added.

The minister also said that PM10 concentrations had been exceeded in Bucharest even during the state of emergency. He explained that the Environment Ministry had sent 16 warnings on high PM10 levels since the beginning of the year, and seven of them were sent during the state of emergency. However, none of these warnings were followed by "immediate measures by the City Hall to reduce the pollutant and shorten the exceedance period."

On the other hand, the Bucharest City Hall said that "the period for which the Court of Justice of the European Union condemned Romania - for the pollution in Bucharest - was generated by the non-observance of the air quality conditions imposed by the European legislation in a period before the current mandate - (7 years of non-compliance respectively 2007-2014, when the general mayors were Adriean Videanu and Sorin Oprescu)," Digi24 reported.

Bucharest general mayor Gabriela Firea said that the City Hall focused its efforts "on implementing effective measures to reduce pollution in the Romanian Capital." She mentioned the Integrated Air Quality Plan, which includes the modernization of the public transport and special lanes for public transportation, intelligent traffic lights, new bike lanes, and the vouchers for bicycles, as well as several investments in the road infrastructure.

[email protected]

(Photo source: Mihocphoto/Dreamstime.com)

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