In 1998, local authorities decided to re-route a motorway through the quiet street where Natalya Grimkovskaya lived with her parents and young son.
The family home soon became uninhabitable. Hundreds of lorries passed by every hour of the day. The air became thick with car fumes. Vibrations caused the furniture in the house to shake. Plaster fell off the ceiling and walls.
When potholes began to form on the road, the local authorities filled them in with coal dust, which was then lifted into the air by passing cars.
Natalya’s young son started to suffer from frequent breathing problems. He was found to have high levels of copper and lead in his body. Doctors recommended that he should be resettled.
Complaints from local residents prompted the authorities to test pollution levels on the street. Experts found that car emissions were above safe standards.
A court later gave little reasoning when it dismissed a civil claim lodged by Natalya’s mother, Klara, who wanted the government to resettle her family and compensate them for the damage to their house and health.