Case Nos. 53157/99, 53247/99, 56850/00 and 53695/00
Judgment date: 26 September 2006
The applicants in these cases lived in the same city as the applicant in Fadeyeva v Russia (No. 55723/00, 09.06.2005). In the latter, the Court found that the location of the applicant’s home, within the boundary of a sanitary security zone (SSZ) around the Cherepovets steel plant, exposed her to unsafe levels of pollution and other nuisance.
The applicants in these cases were able to produce evidence that the pollution levels in Cherepovets exceeded the maximum permissible limits (MPL) as established by Russian legislation. The Chief Health Inspector had noted in 2000 that atmospheric pollution in the SSZ increased the risk of cancer, respiratory and cardiac disease. The Cherepovets Court ordered the municipality to place the applicants on a waiting lists for new housing. The applicants’ appeals, on grounds that being placed on a waiting list did not specifically enable them to live in a healthy environment, were overturned in all cases save for that of Mrs Ledyayeva.
In examining the case the Court noted that the Government did not put forward any new facts or arguments capable of persuading it to reach a conclusion different from that of the Fadeyeva case. The Court concluded that the Russian authorities failed to take appropriate measures in order to protect the applicants’ right to respect for their homes and private lives against serious environmental nuisances. In particular, they neither resettled the applicants outside the dangerous zone, nor provided compensation for those seeking resettlement. Furthermore, the authorities failed to develop and implement an efficient public policy which would induce the owners of the steel-plant to reduce its emissions to the safe levels within a reasonable time. Therefore, there was a violation of Article 8.
The Court awarded the applicants non-pecuniary damages in following amounts: EUR 7,000 to the first applicant, EUR 8,000 to the second and third applicants, and EUR 1,500 to the fourth applicant.
The Court denied the applicants’ requests for resettlement under Article 41, noting that the fourth applicant had already been resettled (hence the smaller financial award). Furthermore, the Court was not willing to depart from the judgment made in the Fadeyeva case, which had not ordered the resettlement of the applicant.