EU court says Poland broke air quality laws

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The Brussels' court house appears through the smog above Brussels, on January 9, 2009. A speed limit on the roads and highways because of the smog (air pollution)started today . AFP PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE (Photo credit should read BENOIT DOPPAGNE/AFP/Getty Images)

The EU’s top court on Thursday found Poland guilty of violating air quality laws, in the latest clash between the bloc’s authorities and the right-wing government in Warsaw. The European Court of Justice urged Poland to comply “without delay” or face fines after finding that the country regularly exceeded limits for toxic fine particles for years.

Brussels has repeatedly taken Poland’s right-wing government to task in recent years over other environment issues as well as migration and the rule of law. “The Court of Justice finds that Poland has infringed EU law on ambient air quality,” the Luxembourg-based EU court said in a statement. It said that between 2007 and 2015 Poland regularly exceeded the daily limits for toxic fine particles in the air in 35 zones and the annual limit in nine zones.

The tiny particles may contain hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and dioxins that can enter the respiratory tract and the lungs. The European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation EU, took Poland to the top court for failing to comply with an EU directive that took effect in June 2008. The ruling comes two days after the top advisor to the ECJ said Poland broke the law by logging in one of Europe’s last primeval forests.

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