Commission takes legal action against high PM10 levels in Spain and Greece

The Commission recently issued two new reasoned opinions against Greece and Spain for failing to protect citizens from air pollution. Under the Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC), member states must protect citizens from a number of air pollutants including PM10. Greece and Spain have failed to comply with these limits for a long time.

In the case of Spain, citizens in the agglomerations: “Zonas Rurales” of Andalucía, Central Asturias, Gijón, Barcelona, and Vallès-Baix Llobregat have been more or less continuously exposed to unhealthy levels of PM10 between 2005 and at least 2012.

In Greece, citizens in Thessaloniki have also been exposed to exceeded limits for PM10 since at least 2005.

The Commission has thus issued two “reasoned opinions” for the non-compliance since 2005, giving Spain and Greece two months to take effective measures to bring down the pollution and keep the period of non-compliance as short as possible. If the countries fail to act appropriately, the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union where they may face a hefty fine.


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