Guerra and Others v Italy: ECHR 19 Feb 1998

(Grand Chamber) The applicants lived about 1km from a chemical factory which produced fertilizers and other chemicals and was classified as ‘high risk’ in criteria set out by Presidential Decree.
Held: Failure by a government to release to an affected population details of known pollution risks could amount to breach of their human rights: ‘The Court considers that Italy cannot be said to have ‘interfered’ with the applicants’ private or family life; they complained not of an act by the State but of its failure to act. However, although the object of Article 8 is essentially that of protecting the individual against arbitrary interference by the public authorities, it does not merely compel the State to abstain from such interference: in addition to this primarily negative undertaking, there may be positive obligations inherent in effective respect for private or family life’ and
‘The Court reiterates that severe environmental pollution may affect individuals’ well being and prevent them from enjoying their homes in such a way as to affect their private and family life adversely . . The Court holds, therefore, that the respondent State did not fulfil its obligation to secure the applicants’ right to respect for their private and family life, in breach of Article 8 of the Convention.’
As to Article 10: ‘The Court reiterates that freedom to receive information, referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 10 of the Convention, ‘basically prohibits a government from restricting a person from receiving information that others wish or may be willing to impart to him’. That freedom cannot be construed as imposing on a State, in circumstances such as those of the present case, positive obligations to collect and disseminate information of its own motion.’
In conclusion, Article 10 is not applicable in the instant case.’


Gazette 20-May-1998, 14967/89, (1998) 26 EHRR 357, [1998] ECHR 7


Worldlii, Bailii


European Convention on Human Rights 8 810


CitedLopez Ostra v Spain ECHR 9-Dec-1994
A waste treatment plant was built close to the applicant’s home in an urban location and the plant released fumes and smells which caused health problems to local residents.
Held: A duty exists to take reasonable and appropriate measures to . .
AppliedLeander v Sweden ECHR 26-Mar-1987
Mr Leander had been refused employment at a museum located on a naval base, having been assessed as a security risk on the basis of information stored on a register maintained by State security services that had not been disclosed him. Mr Leander . .

Cited by:

CitedHatton and Others v United Kingdom ECHR 2-Oct-2001
The appellants claimed that the licence of over-flying from Heathrow at night, by making sleep difficult, infringed their rights to a family life. The times restricting over-flying had been restricted. The applicants’ complaints fell within a . .
CitedLough and others v First Secretary of State Bankside Developments Ltd CA 12-Jul-2004
The appellants challenged the grant of planning permission for neighbouring land. They sought to protect their own amenities and the Tate Modern Gallery.
Held: The only basis of the challenge was under article 8. Cases established of a breach . .
CitedBrown v HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the Executors of the Estate of and others FD 5-Jul-2007
The plaintiff sought the unsealing of the wills of the late Queen Mother and of the late Princess Margaret, claiming that these would assist him establishing that he was the illegitimate son of the latter.
Held: The application was frivolous. . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
CitedBryant and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis Admn 23-May-2011
Several claimants sought leave to bring judicial review of decisions taken by the defendant in the investigation of suggestions that their telephone answering systems had been intercepted by people working for the News of the World. They said that . .
CitedKennedy v Charity Commission CA 20-Mar-2012
The claimant sought disclosure of an investigation conducted by the respondent. The respondent replied that the material was exempt within section 32(2). The court had found that that exemption continued permanently even after the inquiry was . .
CitedKennedy v The Charity Commission SC 26-Mar-2014
The claimant journalist sought disclosure of papers acquired by the respondent in its conduct of enquiries into the charitable Mariam appeal. The Commission referred to an absolute exemption under section 32(2) of the 2000 Act, saying that the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Environment, Human Rights

Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.165586