UK Government Air Pollution Case Brought Forward

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The UK government will meet ClientEarth in court much earlier than was first anticipated now that a High Court judge has accepted a request to put forward the clean air case. ClientEarth is taking the UK government to court over air quality and illegal levels of pollution in the country. The court case will now be heard on 18 – 19 October.

Mrs Justice Lang agreed to environmental law group ClientEarth’s request to fast-track the case, which challenges the government’s inadequate plans to clean up the UK’s illegal air pollution, and requests new ones with actions that will bring air pollution within legal limits as soon as possible.

The deficient plans were the government’s response to the Supreme Court’s order in April 2015 which ordered the Government to take “immediate action”. The case centres on illegal levels (under EU law) of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) a harmful gas emitted mainly by diesel vehicles.

ClientEarth Lawyer, Alan Andrews said: “This is good news for everyone who wants to breathe clean air. The government has been dragging its feet, doing the bare minimum and hoping that air pollution levels drop over time. Unless the Government is forced to act, air pollution will go on making people sick and causing tens of thousands of early deaths every year in this country.

“The government has a legal and moral duty to tackle illegal air pollution, for the sake of people who are breathing in toxic fumes day in-day out, as they simply go about their lives.

“This is a reminder of how EU law protects British people from dangerous air pollution.”