New guidance on how people can challenge public authorities’ decisions and acts related to EU environmental law has been published.
It intends to help individuals and non-governmental organisations to decide whether to bring a case before national courts.
The European Commission says the guidance will also make national administrations aware of possible shortcomings in their justice systems while businesses will be provided with greater clarity on what EU rights and obligations are at stake in the decisions and acts that concern them.
It includes clarifications on how national courts should address pleas that municipal air quality plans do not provide for sufficiently effective measures to reach the air quality standards laid down in EU legislation.
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs said: “Environmental laws are about protecting people and their health. When public authorities fail to respect the rights and obligations under these laws, the public can hold them accountable.
“The new guidance is an important step in empowering citizens to take matters such as the quality of air, water and waste management in their own hands. By bringing environmental cases to the national courts, citizens can help ensure the correct application of environmental law across the EU.”