(Application No. 55723/00)
(Strasbourg, 9.VI.2005)
<*> This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Fadeyeva v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Former First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr P. Lorenzen,
Mrs F. Tulkens,
Mrs {N. Vajic} <*>,
<*> Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.
Mrs S. Botoucharova,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mr V. Zagrebelsky, judges,
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 1 July 2004 and on 19 May 2005,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the last-mentioned date:
1. The case originated in an application (No. 55723/00) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") by a Russian national, Ms Nadezhda Mikhaylovna Fadeyeva ("the applicant"), on 11 December 1999.
2. The applicant, who was granted legal aid in the proceedings before the Court, was initially represented by Mr Yuriy Vanzha, and subsequently by Mr Kirill Koroteyev and Ms Dina Vedernikova, lawyers with the Russian NGO "Memorial" and Mr Bill Bowring and Mr Phillip Leach, solicitors in England and Wales. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr Pavel Laptev, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
3. The applicant alleged, in particular, that the operation of a steel-plant in close proximity to her home endangered her health and well-being. She relied on Article 8 of the Convention.
4. The application was allocated to the Second Section of the Court (Rule 52 § 1 of the Rules of Court). Within that Section, the Chamber that would consider the case (Article 27 § 1 of the Convention) was constituted as provided in Rule 26 § 1.
5. On 1 November 2001 the Court changed the composition of its Sections (Rule 25 § 1). The case was assigned to the newly composed First Section (Rule 52 § 1).
6. By a decision of 16 October 2003 the Court declared the application partly admissible and decided to obtain additional information and observations from the parties and hold a hearing on the merits of the case.
7. The applicant and the Government each filed observations on the merits (Rule 59 § 1). A hearing took place in public in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 1 July 2004 (Rule 59 § 3).
There appeared before the Court:
(a) for the Government
Mr P. Laptev, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights,
Mr Y. Berestnev, Counsel,
Ms T. Gournyak,
Mr M. Stavrovskiy,
Mr M. Vinogradov, Advisers;
(b) for the applicant
Mr K. Koroteyev,
Ms D. Vedernikova,
Mr B. Bowring,
Mr P. Leach Counsel.
8. The Court heard addresses by Mr Laptev, Mr Bowring, Mr Leach and Mr Koroteyev.
9. On 1 November 2004 the Court changed the composition of its Sections (Rule 25 § 1). The present case remained with the former composition of the First Section.
I. The circumstances of the case
A. Background
10. The applicant was born in 1949 and lives in the town of Cherepovets, an important steel-producing centre situated about 300 km north-east of Moscow. In 1982 her family moved to a flat situated at 1 Zhukov Street, about 450 metres from the territory of the "Severstal" steel-plant ("the plant"). This flat was provided by the plant to the applicant"s husband, Mr Nikolay Fadeyev, under a tenancy agreement.
11. The Severstal steel plant was built in Soviet times and owned by the Ministry of Black Metallurgy of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The plant was and remains the largest iron smelter in Russia and the main employer of approximately 60,000 people. In order to delimit the areas in which pollution caused by steel production could be excessive, the authorities established a buffer zone around the Severstal premises - "the sanitary security zone". This zone was first delimited in 1965. It covered a 5,000 metre-wide area around the territory of the plant. Although this zone was, in theory, supposed to separate the plant from the town"s residential areas, in practice thousands of people (including the applicant"s family) lived there. The apartment buildings in the zone belonged to the plant and were designated mainly for its workers, who occupied the flats as life-long tenants (see "Relevant Domestic Law and Practice" below). A Decree of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR, dated 10 September 1974, obliged the Ministry of Black Metallurgy to resettle the inhabitants of the sanitary security zone who lived in districts Nos. 213 and 214 by 1977. However, this has not been done.
12. In 1990 the Government of the RSFSR adopted a programme "On Improving the Environmental Situation in Cherepovets". The programme stated that "the concentration of toxic substances in the town"s air exceeds the acceptable norms many times" and that the morbidity rate of Cherepovets residents was higher than average. It was noted that many people still lived within the steel-plant"s sanitary security zone. Under the programme, the steel-plant was required to reduce its toxic emissions to safe levels by 1998. The programme listed certain specific technological measures to attain this goal. The steel-plant was also ordered to finance the construction of 20,000 square metres of residential property every year for the resettlement of people living within its sanitary security zone.
13. By municipal decree No. 30 of 18 November 1992 the boundaries of the sanitary security zone around the plant were redefined. The width of the zone was reduced to 1,000 metres.
14. In 1993 the steel-plant was privatized and acquired by Severstal PLC. In the course of privatisation the apartment buildings owned by the steel-plant and situated within the zone were transferred to the municipality.
15. On 3 October 1996 the Government of the Russian Federation adopted Decree No. 1161 "On the Special Federal Programme "Improvement of the Environmental Situation and Public Health in Cherepovets" for 1997 - 2010" (in 2002 this programme was replaced by the Special Federal Programme "Russia"s Ecology and Natural Resources"). Implementation of the 1996 programme was funded by the World Bank. The second paragraph of this programme stated as follows:
"The concentration of certain polluting substances in the town"s residential areas is 20 - 50 times higher than the maximum permissible limits (MPLs) <*>... The biggest "contributor" to atmospheric pollution is Severstal PLC, which is responsible for 96 per cent of all emissions. The highest level of air pollution is registered in the residential districts immediately adjacent to Severstal"s industrial territory. The principal cause of the emission of toxic substances into the atmosphere is the operation of archaic and ecologically dangerous technologies and equipment in metallurgic and other industries, as well as the low efficiency of gas-cleaning systems. The situation is aggravated by an almost complete overlap of industrial and residential areas of the city, in the absence of their separation by sanitary security zones."
<*> MPLs are the safe levels of various polluting substances, as established by Russian legislation ("предельно допустимые концентрации", ПДК).
The Decree further stated that "the environmental situation in the city has resulted in a continuing deterioration in public health". In particular, it stated that over the period 1991 - 1995 the number of children with respiratory diseases increased from 345 to 945 cases per thousand, those with blood and haematogenic diseases from 3.4 to 11 cases per thousand, and those with skin diseases from 33.3 to 101.1 cases per thousand. The Decree also noted that the high level of atmospheric pollution accounted for the increase in respiratory and blood diseases among the city"s adult population and the increased number of deaths from cancer.
16. Most of the measures proposed in the programme concerned the functioning of the Severstal steel-plant. The Decree also enumerated a number of measures concerning the city as a whole: these included the resettlement of 18,900 people from Severstal"s sanitary security zone. It transpires from the programme that the State was supposed to be the main funding source for such resettlement. However, it seems that in subsequent years Severstal PLC continued to pay for the resettlement of the zone"s inhabitants, at least as regards districts Nos. 213 and 214. Thus, according to Decree No. 1260 by the Mayor of Cherepovets, dated 4 April 2004, in 2004 the residents of the apartment buildings situated on Gagarin Street were resettled to another district of the city. According to a letter of 3 June 2004 from the Mayor of Cherepovets, Severstal funded approximately one third of the cost of resettlement.
17. On 9 August 2000 the Chief Sanitary Inspector for Cherepovets established that the width of the sanitary security zone should be 1,000 metres from the main sources of industrial pollution. However, no specific boundaries were identified for the zone. In 2002 the municipality challenged its own decree No. 30 of 1992, which had established the zone"s boundaries (see § 13). On 13 June 2002 the Cherepovets Town Court declared decree No. 30 invalid on the ground that it was ultra vires. The Town Court ruled that at the relevant time the municipality had not had jurisdiction to define the width of the zone. The boundaries of the sanitary security zone around the Severstal facilities currently remain undefined.
18. In 2001 implementation of the 1996 Government Programme was discontinued and the measures proposed in it were included in the corresponding section of the sub-programme "Regulation of Environmental Quality" in the Special Federal Programme "Russia"s Ecology and Natural Resources (2002 - 2010)".
19. According to a letter from the Mayor of Cherepovets dated 3 June 2004, in 1999 the plant was responsible for more than 95 per cent of industrial emissions into the town"s air. According to the State Report on the Environment for 1999, the Severstal plant in Cherepovets was the largest contributor to air pollution of all metallurgical plants in Russia.
B. The applicant"s attempt to be resettled outside the zone
1. First set of court proceedings
20. In 1995 the applicant, with her family and various other residents of the apartment block where she lived, brought a court action seeking resettlement outside the zone. The applicant claimed that the concentration of toxic elements and the noise levels in the sanitary security zone exceeded the maximum permissible limits established by Russian legislation. The applicant alleged that the environmental situation in the zone was unfavourable for humans, and that living there was potentially dangerous to health and life. In support of her claims she relied mainly on the city planning regulations of 1989 (see "Relevant Domestic Law and Practice" below). According to the applicant, these regulations imposed an obligation on the plant"s owners to implement various ecological measures in the zone, including the resettlement of residents to an ecologically safe area. The applicant claimed that Severstal had failed to fulfil this obligation.
21. On 17 April 1996 the Cherepovets Town Court examined the applicant"s action. The court recognized that the building at 1 Zhukov Street, where the plaintiff lived, was located within Severstal"s sanitary security zone. The court noted that, prior to 1993, the applicant"s flat had been owned by the Ministry of Black Metallurgy, which had also owned the plant. Following privatisation of the plant in 1993 it had become a privately-owned entity and the applicant"s flat had become the property of the local authorities. Referring to the Ministerial Decree of 1974, the court found that the authorities ought to have resettled all of the zone"s residents but that they had failed to do so. In view of those findings, the court accepted the applicant"s claim in principle, stating that she had the right in domestic law to be resettled. However, no specific order to resettle the applicant was given by the court in the operative part of its judgment. Instead, the court stated that the local authorities must place her on a "priority waiting list" to obtain new local authority housing (see "Relevant Domestic Law and Practice" below). The court also stated that the applicant"s resettlement was conditional on the availability of funds.
22. The applicant appealed, claiming that the obligation to resettle was on the plant rather than on the municipality. She also maintained that the court had distorted the object of her claim: whereas she had been seeking immediate resettlement, the court had ordered that she be placed on a waiting list. In the applicant"s view, this decision was unfeasible because its enforcement depended on too many conditions (the existence of a resettlement order, the number of people on the waiting list, the availability of funds for resettlement etc).
23. On 7 August 1996 the Vologda Regional Court upheld in principle the decision of 17 April 1996, and confirmed that the applicant"s house was located within the Severstal steel-plant"s sanitary security zone. The appeal court further found that the applicant"s resettlement in an ecologically safe area was to be carried out by the municipality. Finally, the appeal court excluded from the operative part of the judgment the reference to the availability of funds as a pre-condition for the applicant"s resettlement.
24. The first-instance court issued an execution warrant and transmitted it to a bailiff. However, the decision remained unexecuted for a certain period of time. In a letter of 11 December 1996 the Deputy Mayor of Cherepovets explained that enforcement of the judgment was blocked, since there were no regulations establishing the procedure for the resettlement of residents outside the zone.
25. On 10 February 1997 the bailiff discontinued the enforcement proceedings on the ground that there was no "priority waiting list" for new housing for residents of the sanitary security zone.

Международное законодательство »
Читайте также