under pressure, the State risks having to pay a new record sum

According to the Council of State, the State has failed to act within “the most legal time possible” so that the air quality improves in certain metropolises.

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The French state risks having to pay a record sum of 20 million euros in penalties for not having enough against air pollution, which causes tens of thousands of deaths each year in France. The State had been sentenced in August 2021 to pay 10 million euros for not having reinforced its system against pollution, a decision then relating to the first half of 2021.

The public rapporteur of the Council of State – whose opinions are generally, but not always, followed by the judges – requested on Monday September 19 the payment of an additional 20 million euros corresponding to the following two semesters, until July 2022. He recognized in his conclusions an improvement “real” but according to him the State failed to act within the deadlines “as short as possible” so that the air quality improves in certain metropolises.

Pollution, linked in particular to car traffic, represents a major public health issue. “Mortality linked to ambient air pollution remains a significant risk in France with 40,000 deaths attributable each year to fine particles”, underlined Public Health France last year. The Friends of the Earth association, at the origin of the case, was pleased on Monday to have been essentially followed by the rapporteur, pending the decision of the judges, by mid- October.

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