UK Supreme Court final hearing 2

Victory for clean air

ClientEarth have won a huge victory for the health of people in the UK. Just two week’s ago ClientEarth’s lawyers were in court fighting for our right to clean air. The UK Supreme Court has now agreed that the Government is not doing enough to protect us from the harmful impacts of air pollution and is ordering it to take “immediate action.”

The Supreme Court has condemned the Government’s failure to meet legal limits of nitrogen dioxide, a harmful pollutant that is mainly caused by diesel traffic. This invisible public health crisis is responsible for at least 29,000 early deaths each year in the UK and deteriorates the quality of life in many of our towns and cities.

The Court has ordered the Government to scrap current plans, which by its own admission would not have met legal limits until more than 20 years after the original deadline of 2010. The Government will instead need to come up with new plans by the end of this year that show how the UK will meet these limits “in the shortest time possible.”

This will be no easy task, which is why the Healthy Air Campaign has been calling for ambitious leadership from the top to transform our towns and cities into cleaner and healthier environments for all. The Supreme Court has also stated that “the new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”

With only a week to go to the General Election pressure on politicians to act is building. In a recent YouGov poll for the Evening Standard “seven out of 10 Londoners accused political leaders of not doing enough to stop “silent killer” fumes on the capital’s streets – or ignoring the problem entirely. However, this is not just a London problem. ClientEarth’s victory is good news for people up and down the UK, from Glasgow and Teeside to the East Midlands and Southampton. The UK’s highest court has ordered the Government to act on our right to clean air.

What can you do?

  • In the days before the general election, ask candidates what they would do to tackle air pollution and protect our health – let us know what they tell you.
  • Click here to help spread the word on Twitter.
  • Like us on Facebook.
  • Add your voice to our campaign.
  • If you’d like to learn more about how you can challenge poor air quality using the law, ClientEarth have produced this handbook.

4 Responses to Victory for clean air

  1. Basil Clarke says:

    Just to let you know that your subscription button isn’t working, on my computer anyway.

    Please add me to your mailing list.

  2. Al says:

    In light of the VW emissions scandal, what is being done to make sure the UK government clamps down on the car industry and does proper emission testing on real driving tests not just lab tests which enable car manufacturers to cheat. The car isnt going away so we need to ensure that vehicles meet the new targets, and old ones are also polluting as little as possible. The car tax and company benefits for diesel need to be looked at, as the decision to make diesel more attractive to private individuals and company fleets because it produced less co2 than petrol, but a lot more nox was wrong. Even if the test results claimed by manufacturers was right, it was still the wrong decision. But now we know that car manufacturer, vw and possibly others using outdated diesel technology have been cheating us all, up to 40 times the levels of nox. The government seems to be easily pressured by the car industry to put back targets and tests. These need to be implimented now as we now know that this is a major public health concern.

    • Andrea Lee says:

      Hi Alex. There’s a lot going on to try to address the issues that you raise. If you can, it would be great if you could ask your MP and MEPs what they are doing about this. As you might know at the moment the UK Government is consulting on draft air quality plans for tackling nitrogen dioxide and MEPs are looking at clean air regulations as we speak – the latter isn’t going to directly address the VW scandal but they will be looking at that also.

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