The Higher Court in Belgrade has ruled in favour of the Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI) and ordered the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) to reduce the emissions of sulfur dioxide in its thermal power plants due to the danger they pose to people’s health and the living environment.
The lawsuit, which RERI filed in January 2021, followed several submitted requests for extraordinary inspection in EPS’ thermal power plants due to drastically exceeding the maximum allowed emissions of sulfur dioxide, which the Ministry of Environmental Protection claimed had no basis – RERI says in its press release.
They add that the court has determined that initiating the court procedure was the only remaining legal instrument to prevent the company from further jeopardising people’s health and the living environment.
As of January 2018, EPS has been obligated to reduce the emissions of sulfur dioxide from their facilities, in line with the National Emission Reduction Plan (NERP), which Serbia has to adhere to after it was ratified by the Energy Community Treaty.
However, in 2018 and 2019 alone, the TPPs Nikola Tesla and Kostolac emitted six times more sulfur dioxide into the air than allowed, and the excessive emissions continued in the ensuing years as well.
“The aim of the lawsuit was to protect people’s health, which has been jeopardized due to years of EPS violating local and international regulations. This is also confirmed by the fact that, in reaching its decision, the court was also guided by the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered EPS to harmonize its activities with the relevant regulations. We expect EPS to comply with the decision and implement the necessary measures to reduce the future emissions of sulfur dioxide to the maximum allowed values,” says the RERI program director, Mirko Popovic.
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