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.