French state fined millions for air pollution in cities

Because of too much air pollution in French cities, the country's Council of State has fined France 10 million euros ($11.85 million).


After the government had already been called upon to improve air quality in five metropolitan areas a year ago, the limits were still being exceeded in Paris and Lyon, the Council of State announced in Paris on Wednesday, Deutsche press agency (dpa) reported.


Despite the decrease in traffic during the coronavirus lockdown, the limit values were also only slightly undercut in Marseille/Aix, Toulouse and Grenoble.


The Council of State also justified the high penalty with the fact that the upper limits for particulate matter have already been in force since 2005 and those for nitrogen dioxide since 2010.


The Council of State advises the government in France, but at the same time has the function of the highest administrative court and can therefore also impose penalties.


The institution called for further steps for more air pollution controls that go beyond the switch to more environmentally friendly cars and a gradual ban on oil and gas heating.


At the beginning of 2022, the situation will be reassessed and a decision made on a possible further penalty for the state.


The fine now imposed relates to the first half of 2021 alone; a penalty of a similar amount could be imposed for the second half of the year.


The fine will be paid to environmental associations and institutions, including Friends of the Earth, who appealed to the Council of State about the air pollution.





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