France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy are being criticized by European Commission for their pollution, which comes mainly from road traffic.
Brussels states that in these countries it has detected “persistent infractions” in the area of air pollution, which is mainly caused by road traffic and therefore launches a “final warning”. And if these states “do not act within two months”, the Commission warns that “it may decide to refer the case to the European Union (EU) Court of Justice”, as it has already done in 2015 for Belgium and Bulgaria.
In France, some 20 zones are concerned, including Paris, Marseille and Lyon. On the German side, there are about thirty of them, including Berlin, Munich and Hamburg, and sixteen in the United Kingdom “including London, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow,” the Commission said.
European legislation requires Member States to implement ‘plans’ and ‘appropriate measures’ when the limit values for air pollutants are exceeded. Among the possible measures, the European executive cites in particular “reducing the overall volume of traffic”, “switching to electric cars” and “adapting driver behavior”.
“Reducing emissions from diesel-powered vehicles is an important step towards ensuring compliance with EU air quality standards,” the Commission said, adding that “more than 400,000 citizens die prematurely every year in the European Union because of poor air quality”.