Court hears call for cleaner air in cities

April 22 2015  

Court hears call for cleaner air in cities
Cities throughout the UK could be forced to introduce low emission zones to combat vehicle pollution if the Supreme Court rules in favour of a case against the Government heard last Thursday.
Environmental group Client Earth brought a case over Government’s apparent failure to meet legal limits for air pollution. The hearing follows a ruling from the European Court of Justice last year which said that the UK must have a plan to achieve air quality standards in the ‘shortest time possible’.
According to Client Earth, the UK missed an EU deadline for nitrogen dioxide limits in 2010. It said that Government since drew up plans to reduce air pollution and the Court has heard that compliance will not be reached until after 2030.
Government must, the group says, reduce diesel traffic in towns and cities through a national network of low emission zones.
Client Earth lawyer Alan Andrews said: “Scientists estimate that every year at least 29,000 people die early in the UK as a result of air pollution. We have asked the Court to step in and force the Government to finally get to grips with this national health crisis.
“Every year of dither and delay by Government just means thousands more people will die or be made seriously ill from heart attacks, asthma attacks, strokes and cancer. It's unacceptable and we need action now.” 
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said it could not comment on ongoing legal proceedings, but added that in 2012 a total of 17 out of 27 member states including the UK were non-compliant with the annual mean NO2 limit value.
(Photo: Alvey & Towers)

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