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NGOs calls for Salzburg to act against nitrogen oxide

A consortium of environmental NGOs angry at the excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide polluting the air in the Austrian state of Salzburg have said they will launch legal action against the state unless a change is made.

The NGO group Ökobüro which includes Greenpeace, say that the emission of nitrogen oxide, which comes from engine pollution is way above EU and Austrian regulation limits. One measurement taken in Salzburg found nitrogen oxide levels of 52 micrograms per cubic metre of air, exceeding both the Austrian limit of 35 micrograms and the EU limit of 40 micrograms.

They have submitted a motion to the state calling on them to take measures "for the fastest possible compliance with the emission limits", according to CEO of Ökobüro Thomas Alge, explaining that a motion has to be submitted before any legal action can be taken.

Nitrogen dioxide is a irritant and corrosive gas that can inflame the respiratory system and damage lung development in children. "When children are exposed to a constant stress, they have delays of lung growth which effects them later in adulthood," said doctor Hans-Peter Hutter.

Austria is not alone in being targeted to reduce their emission of nitrogen oxide. In February this year it was revealed that the UK could face fines of up 300 million GBP and court appearances after legal action was launched by the European commission for not complying with emission limits.

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