Paris Victory in EU Court Will Require Stricter Pollution Limits

(Bloomberg) -- Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said her city, together with Madrid and Brussels, won a “historic victory” in their court fight against EU rules they said were too lax to help bring down diesel pollution from cars.

The EU General Court in Luxembourg partly overturned a European Commission regulation that set “excessively high” allowable levels for emissions of oxides of nitrogen from new cars and commercial vehicles, according to a ruling on Thursday, which can be appealed.

The cities filed their suits in 2016 -- shortly after the commission published the new rules -- accusing the EU regulator of overstepping its powers by imposing measures less demanding than ones set out in the so-called Euro 6 standard.

The limits are for maximum levels of pollutants that can’t be exceeded by manufacturers. Paris, which has put in place a number of measures to cut pollution, also claimed a symbolic 1 euro in compensation for the harm caused to the city. The court said winning the underlying case would be sufficient compensation.

Hidalgo, who has been fighting the EU rules, said the ruling was a win for the environment as well as consumers.

“I was told I would lose, but we have won,” she said in a tweet in French after the ruling. “It’s clearly a collective victory. It’s that of the mayors, who are on the frontline of climate change and whose interest in taking action is being recognized.”

The commission argued the adapted tests were needed to reflect the true level of pollutants during real driving conditions and to thwart any use of rigged software in the wake of the Volkswagen AG diesel scandal.

The Brussels-based commission said it “will analyze the judgment in detail to see how to proceed further.”

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