The Walloon region was summoned on Tuesday afternoon before the Namur Court of First Instance. It is being prosecuted by Greenpeace in relation to air pollution measures that it is setting out, which the association for the protection of the environment believes to be erroneous.
Greenpeace is of the belief that the measurements communicated by the region do not reflect reality, to the extent that they do not take account of so-called “urban canyons”. These are roads surrounded by high buildings in urban areas. In other words although there are sufficient numbers of measuring stations, taking account of the European directive they may not have been placed in the right locations for the experiment.
Referring to a government decision the association is, as a consequence, demanding that the court imposes a requirement upon the competent minister, Carlo Di Antonio, to set out a plan seeking to improve the measurement system, taking account of these canyons.
Judgment is to be given on October 30th. If the Belgian courts rule in favour of Greenpeace, the Wallooon region must set out this plan within 30 days. If this proves not to be the case, Greenpeace is moreover requesting that a penalty of €10,000 per day is ordered.
However, there is a high probability that the competent judge may stay proceedings, whilst awaiting a response from the ECJ (European Court of Justice). Indeed this has occurred with a similar case in the Brussels-Capital region.
The lawyers in the Walloon region believe that the provisions of the European directive are being complied with. They say that the region is willing to be as transparent as possible as regards the measurements, and to constantly improve the measurement mechanism used in this regard.