The EU’s Court of Justice ruled that Poland between 2007 and 2015 failed to meet the bloc’s air quality norms.
“The fact of exceeding the limit values for PM10 [particulate matter] concentrations in the ambient air is sufficient in itself to establish a failure to fulfill obligations,” ECJ said.
EU law obliges member states, to maintain air quality standards and limit values for PM10 below the annual average of 40 µg/m3 and 50 µg/m3 per day. A member state is allowed to overstep this daily standard up to 35 times a year. However, in Poland’s case, the court pointed out that in the period covered by the case, the country regularly exceeded the daily limits in 35 zones (out of 46) and the annual limit values in nine zones.
“Fighting smog is one of the government’s priorities. But we will not be able to do it within a year,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said after the ruling.
Poland follows Bulgaria, as the only EU member states found guilty of such charge. Nine other nations could be taken to court for similar charges (Czechia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and the UK). Overall, the EU targets are being exceeded in 23 member states.
The court also found Poland’s plans to curb air pollution ineffective, saying the existing plans would not bring air quality in line with EU standards between 2020 and 2024.