Norway found guilty of poor urban air quality

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The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) has found Norway guilty of violating the EU’s air quality directive, after registering widespread local air pollution in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. Areas of Østlandet, Vestlandet and central Norway were also cited.

Norway’s own national federation against asthma and allergies had reported the poor air quality to EFTA officials after they didn’t think either the former or the current government was acting on its complaints.

“It’s sad when the case had to go this far, we didn’t want Norway to be convicted,” Bo Gleditsch, secretary general of the asthma and allergy federation, told newspaper Dagsavisen. The group saw no recourse, though, and hopes the EFTA ruling will prod Norwegian officials into pushing through more measures to reduce air pollution.

There’s no “sentence” following EFTA’s conviction, but Tine Sundtoft, Norway’s environmental minister, claimed many anti-pollution measures already have been put in place. They include creation of low emission zones, tougher demands on taxi drivers and tolls aimed at reducing cars on the roads, she said. Opposition politicians were demanding more measures and hoped plans to expand the E18 highway west of Oslo will be dropped. staff