August 10, 2021
France’s highest administrative court on August 6 fined the state 10 million euros ($11.9 million) for failing to improve air quality in several areas of the country, according to a report from Reuters on August 6.
The sanction comes four years after the Conseil d’Etat, which acts as a legal adviser to the executive and as the supreme court for administrative justice, ordered the government to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles in more than a dozen zones to be in line with European standards.
In its ruling, the court said President Emmanuel Macron’s government had done too little to improve air quality in some zones, with nitrogen dioxide levels still too high in Paris, the capital, and Lyon, France’s second-largest urban area, in 2020.
Officials at the environment ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.
The government had argued it had implemented further measures since July last year to clean up its cities’ air, including additional low emission zones, incentives for electric and hybrid cars and a phasing out of oil-burning boilers.
The court said it could impose further 10 million euro fines every six months until the government met the targets.
Greenpeace in France said it was a record fine for the flouting of air quality standards.