French court fines government 10m euros over air pollution inaction

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France's Council of State, the country's highest administrative court, on Wednesday fined the government 10 milion euros for its failure to take appropriate measures to combat air pollution which, according to some estimates, causes around 40,000 premature deaths every year.

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France's top administrative court on Wednesday fined the government a record sum for failing to reduce air pollution to acceptable levels, reports FRANCE 24.

The Council of State slapped its highest fine ever, 10 million euros ($12 million), on President Emmanuel Macron's government, warning it would do so again within months if the authorities failed to act quickly to combat smog.

The Court, which has become increasingly watchful over the government's environmental record, said measures decided by the government were insufficient to improve air quality, because some might not actually be implemented, and their likely effects had not been properly evaluated.

Last year, the Council ruled that the government had failed to implement a court order dating from 2017 to curb air pollution levels, and gave it six months to take corrective action or face a 10-million-euro fine every six months until air quality improves.

With the six-month deadline having elapsed, the Council is now implementing its threat.

Air pollution is believed to cause 40,000 premature deaths in France per year.

The Court said that pollution by nitrogen dioxide -- produced by fossil fuel combustion, notably by cars -- was still excessive in five urban areas: Paris, Lyon, Marseille-Aix, Toulouse and Grenoble.

Read more of this AFP report published by FRANCE 24.

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