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Air pollution: France gets slapped with 'final warning' from EU

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Air pollution: France gets slapped with 'final warning' from EU
A smoggy morning in Paris. Photo: AFP
09:35 CET+01:00
The EU has told France to tighten controls on smog-causing car pollution or risk being sent to the top European court.
Heavy smog has enveloped much of Europe this winter prompting emergency measures in several big cities including London, Paris and Berlin.
 
And France has been no exception. In fact, France was one of five EU countries to get a "final warning" from the EU on the matter on Wednesday. 
   
"The European Commission sends final warnings to Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom for failing to address repeated breaches of air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide," the European Commission said.
   
The commission, the executive arm of the 28-country union, said it urged the countries "to take action to ensure good air quality and safeguard public health."
   
EU countries can be hit with large financial penalties by the commission if they break the union's rules.
   
The commission said that "persistently high" levels of nitrogen dioxide caused 70,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013.
   
This was almost three times the number of deaths by road traffic accidents in the same year, it added.
 
France's air pollution levels have proven to be a talking point this winter - especially in Paris, where it got so bad that city authorities introduced traffic restrictions and free public transport on several occasions. 
 
In response, Paris rolled out a new sticker system last month that is aimed to stop the most polluting vehicles from being on the roads when the air pollution is at its worst. 
 
Grenoble, a town in the south east where air pollution is particularly bad, is in the process of introducing a similar system. 
 
 
 
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