Judge asks sides to consider settlement in Sofia air quality lawsuit

The latest hearing in the class-action air pollution lawsuit against Sofia city hall has not resulted in a final ruling on February 17, prompting presiding judge Albena Boteva to inquire whether the two sides may reach a settlement, legal news website lex.bg reported.

Filed by a group of non-governmental organisations and individuals three years ago, the lawsuit has already resulted in court orders on Sofia city hall regarding its efforts to improve the air quality in the Bulgarian capital city in 2015-17.

The hearing on February 17 saw the dismissal of one of the experts appointed to carry out an assessment of the efficiency of the city hall’s plan to improve air quality.

The expert was found to be in conflict of interest due to her participation in drafting the city hall’s air quality action plan for 2011-14, the period immediately prior to one cited in the lawsuit.

Finding experts to carry out the forensic assessment of the city hall’s action plan has been one of the major stumbling blocks in the lawsuit, resulting in repeated delays.

The next hearing in the lawsuit has been scheduled for May 11, giving the court time to appoint another expert for the forensic assessment, lex.bg said.

The report said that neither side in the lawsuit appeared keen on a settlement, with both the plaintiffs and the city hall expecting the initiative for a settlement to come from the other side.

(Sofia has been repeatedly criticsed for its air quality, especially in winter, when particulate matter concentration spikes due to the extensive use of solid fuel heating. Photo: dewfall/flickr.com)



The Sofia Globe staff

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