Government Must End Diesel Use After Losing Dirty Air Court Battle

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Regent St. by Hernán Piñera via flickr

After the High Court today approved a review of the UK government plans to tackle air pollution, deemed ‘woefully inadequate’ by campaigners, the government must phase out diesel use – says Friends of the Earth.

In April 2015 the government was ordered by the UK Supreme Court to take immediate action to clean up the UK’s air, following a court case brought by legal campaign group ClientEarth. But the government’s plans to deal with the UK’s Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollution problem, which should have meant our air was brought within EU legal limits in the “shortest time possible”, were considered so feeble, that they were taken back to court, and today the High Court has allowed the complaint to proceed to judicial review.

Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said:

“Today’s court win is fantastic news for our health, but campaigners shouldn’t have to judicially review the government just to make sure we can all breathe clean air. Air pollution is an invisible killer, leading to 40,000 early deaths each year in the UK.

“The good news is that the government will now have to put in place plans for more Clean Air Zones across the country to deal with our illegally dirty air.

“The government was relying on over optimistic assumptions of how much pollution vehicles actually produce on the road, as opposed to in the lab. We know road traffic is the biggest problem for air pollution in the UK and diesel is the worst of all. To really deal with this air pollution crisis, the government must now introduce plans to phase out diesel from our roads.”

The ruling comes on the same day that think-tank IPPR joins Friends of the Earth’s call for a diesel scrappage scheme to help remove the worst polluting vehicles from our roads.

Friends of the Earth supports calls for a new Clean Air Act, and is calling for Clean Air Zones in all our cities and major towns, more action to cut traffic levels and offer people alternatives to driving, along with the complete phase out of diesel vehicles. Sign up to call on the UK to ditch diesel: https://act.foe.co.uk/ditchdiesel