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Dieter Janecek v. Freistaat Bayern
European Union
Type of document:
International court
Date of text:
July 25, 2008
Data source:
Court name:
European Court of Justice
Seat of court:
Timmermans, C.W.A.
Bay Larsen, L.
Schiemann, K.
Makarczyk, J.
Bonichot,, J.-C.
Mazák, J.
Reference number:
ECOLEX subject(s):
Environment gen.
Air & atmosphere
The German Bundesverwaltungsgericht requested the ECJ to explain provisions of Directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality. Mr. Janecek had asked for an order requiring the Freistaat Bayern to draw up an air quality action plan in the Landshuter Allee district, where he lives. In that way, he hoped to achieve that in the future, PM10 emission limit values would no longer be exceeded more than 35 days a year. The ECJ explained that where there is a risk that the Directive’s limit values or alert thresholds may be exceeded, persons directly concerned can require the competent national authorities to draw up an action plan, even though, under national law, those persons may have other courses of action available to them for requiring those authorities to take measures to combat atmospheric pollution. The Court further explained that Member States are obliged to take measures – in the context of an action plan and in the short term – that are capable of reducing to a minimum the risk that the limit values or alert thresholds may be exceeded and of ensuring a gradual return to a level below those values or thresholds, taking into account the factual circumstances and all opposing interests. In other words: citizens concerned can demand an action plan, but they cannot demand specific action against pollution as this is largely a matter left to the discretion of Member States.