The activity of the Clean Air Action Group in 2014

The activity of the Clean Air Action Group in 2014

(Summary of the Annual Report)

2014 was a really difficult year for independent NGOs and environmental issues, so the Clean Air Action Group (CAAG) had to adapt to these tough conditions. We are especially proud of the fact that despite the circumstances, we had several major successes in 2014. The ones that we consider most important are the following:

Before the national elections in April 2014, CAAG invited MP candidates to commit themselves to do everything they can for the implementation of concrete demands of environmental NGOs (drafted by CAAG). Fifteen candidates signed the commitment documentproposed by the NGOs, and five of them were elected. This is unprecedented, because for the first time in Hungary, Members of the Parliament can be sued if they break their promises.

We maderecommendations for the reorganization of public transport after the completion of the 4th subway line in Budapest. Several of them have been accepted and implemented by the Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK).

According to experts, truck traffic could be reduced by as much as 50% in Budapest if it was better organized. Weproposed BKK to make a citywide plan for truck traffic. The first draft is now complete with the help of CAAG.

We were the first to point out that BKK loses billions of forints yearly because the majority of truck drivers do not pay the entrance charge in Budapest. We recommended the purchase of monitoring vehicles. The BKK now has 4 of these and does thorough checks with them.

For the municipal elections we made recommendations (with the help of many experts) for the candidates in Budapest, called „Recommendations for Budapest – What do we expect from municipalities between 2014 and 2019” which contains 229 recommendations.

We met with the new Hungarian state secretary responsible for environmental protection, and proposed a nationwide campaign promoting better household heating practices.The campaign started in October 2014.

We continued ournationwide campaign against the illegal burning of waste. We cooperated with the authorities and the local residents to start several successful cases where the perpetrator was fined. We alsohelped the work of the Hungarian commissioner for fundamental rights in this topic.

The public is rightfully concerned about asbestos pollution. We have been in close contact with several authorities and expert groups so we can ensure that the issue won’t be swept under the rug again.

We managed to save 140 hectares of productive land with the help of the local residents by stopping gravel mines from being started South of Budapest.

With our help, another former employee of the national tax authority provided additional information on the 1000 billion forint VAT fraud which was unveiled during our press conference in November of 2013.

We renewed our Board of Experts, which has 57 highly regarded members.

Our environmental consultants helped citizens in more than 1500 cases.