Dutch govt. ordered to improve air quality in court ruling on environmental lawsuit

Air pollution (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Zakysant)Air pollution (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Zakysant)

The Dutch state must draw up a quality plan to improve the air quality in the Netherlands so that it complies to European regulations, the court in The Hague ruled on Thursday in a lawsuit filed by environmental organization Milieudefensie, NU.nl reports.

Two weeks ago Milieudefensie demanded that the government takes urgent measures too ensure cleaner, healthier air. According to the organization, the concentration of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the air exceed EU standards in a number of places in the Netherlands. This is detrimental to citizens' health and can cause premature death, the organization argued.

The court ruled in the environmental organization's favor. "The deadline for meeting the limit values has long been over, but the limit values for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are still being exceeded at several locations in the Netherlands", the court said. The court ordered the Dutch state to come up with a plan to improve air quality, and forbade the state from taking any measures that will result in air quality limits being exceeded. 

Anne Knol, campaign leader for sustainable mobility at Milieudefensie, called the ruling a real breakthrough. "We are pleased that the judge is forcing the State to better protect the health of citizens", she said to the newspaper. "The air pollution in the Netherlands must now really be addressed so that fewer people get sick or die because of air pollution. For the million lung patients in the Netherlands, this is very hopeful news."


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