Successful lawsuit against Tokaj’s truck traffic

Using a novel legal approach, a significant success has been achieved in the town of Tokaj by a resident who sued the road operator because of the intolerable truck traffic in front of his house. In the lawsuit that was helped by the Clear Air Action Group the Budapest Regional Court of Appeal has found infringements even at second instance and bindingly banned the road operator from further omission.

Among legal instruments used for environmental protection has not been common that someone asks the court to remedy an infringement by referring to human rights violation. However, due to noise, vibration and air pollution caused by heavy truck traffic, a resident who lives in Tokaj’s greenbelt felt that his right to private residence and to health had been violated. Therefore, he asked the court to report this and prohibit the road operator from the infringement. According to him, all of this is reflected in the fact that the road operator does not take any measures that could reduce the disturbing effects. After the action, the plaintiff turned to the Clear Air Action Group for help. At first instance, the judgement found a violation of the right to private residence but no enforcement was used. However, the citizen appealed and at second instance the final court decision of the Budapest Regional Court of Appeal justified the injunction against infringement and according to our interpretation even the implementation of overdue measures. That means that in order to overcome the disturbing noise and vibration effect the road operator has to repair road defects, sagging manhole covers and he is also asked to take measures to ensure that the speed limit is respected by truck drivers in the area.

Nevertheless, the court did not find unlawful that the road operator gives special permission to many carriers to use the road concerned even though there is a general prohibition of truck traffic on that road section. Overall, however an important and valuable court decision has been made from both specific residential case and environmental law enforcement aspects.

Translated by Noémi Koncz