Top European court faults Germany for high air pollution

BERLIN (AP) — The European Union’s top court has ruled that Germany “systematically and persistently” exceeded limits on nitrogen dioxide, a harmful gas produced by diesel engines, in many regions between 2010 and 2016. The European Court of Justice faulted Germany on Thursday for exceeding annual limits on NO2 in 26 out of 89 areas assessed — including the Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Duesseldorf, Munich and Stuttgart areas. It found that hourly limits also were exceeded in Stuttgart and the Rhine-Main area, which includes Frankfurt. The court also said Germany failed to ensure that air quality plans provided for measures to keep the periods in which the NO2 limits were exceeded as short as possible.