Russia fails to provide housing for those moved out of polluted zone

Russia has been found guilty of breaching the rights of residents living near a polluting steel works for failing to compensate them following their relocation.

Ledyayeva and Others v Russia

Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights has held that Russia, in failing to relocate or provide compensation for relocation of the applicants outside the zone of pollution near a steel plant, had failed to take appropriate measures to protect the applicants' right to respect for their homes and private lives against serious environmental nuisances.

In holding there to have been a violation of the applicants' rights under Article 8 of the ECHR, the Court considered particularly that the authorities had not resettled the applicants outside the dangerous zone, nor provided compensation for their resettlement, and had failed to adopt an efficient public policy to induce the steel plant to reduce its emissions to safe levels within a reasonable period of time.

The Court stated that the State had a positive duty to take reasonable and appropriate measures to protect the applicants' rights. The continuing operation of the plant contributed to the economy of the region in which it was situated, and as such served a legitimate purpose within the meaning of Article 8, but this legitimate purpose had to be balanced against the interests of the applicants and those of the community as a whole.

The central issue was the manner in which the State protected the applicants' rights by regulating private industry, and the legal mechanisms that had been employed to reduce the pollution to acceptable levels or to exclude those affected by it from it's effects.

The text of the case is available at the following link.

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