Article title: A right to clean air in EU law? Using litigation to progress from procedural to substantive environmental rights
European environmental non-governmental organisations (‘NGOs’) increasingly resort to litigation as a tool to protect the environment. EU clean air directives offer a favourable field to push environmental litigation from procedural towards obtaining substantive rights to a safe and healthy environment. By resorting to national courts and through the intervention of the CJEU, citizens and NGOs in both Germany and the UK have been granted the right to access courts, the right to demand an effective remedy and, especially, the right to obtain substantive review of the air quality plans adopted to achieve the AirQuality Directive’s limit values in the shortest time possible. It remains to be seen the extent to which members of the public will be able to assert their right to clean air in other EU Member States and, more generally, to claim substantive environmental rights in fields not connected with clean air. Read more…
European environmental NGOs increasingly resort to litigation as a tool to protect the environment. However, courts in the European Union often provide ‘a wide entrance, to a very small room’: the generous standing requirements available to the public under the Aarhus Convention clash with the narrow grounds for judicial review, which are limited to procedural issues. The recent history of cleanair cases shows that litigation can push courts to review the substance of administrative decisions, overturning national legal traditions and, ultimately, leading to the development of a substantive right to a safe and healthy environment.
A right to clean air in EU law? Using litigation to progress from procedural to substantive environmental rights
Ugo Taddei ClientEarth, Brussels, Belgium
Environmental Law Review
2016, Vol. 18(1)