Concerns expressed about post-Brexit air quality standards
The UK Government must take more responsibility for air quality, even after leaving the European Union, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has warned, labelling recent taxpayer expense on court cases “indefensible”.
Environmental law firm, ClientEarth has won two court cases against the Government, arguing that its measures to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution are inadequate and contravene EU law. Many of the UK’s urban areas still breach EU pollution limits set for 2010, and the firm is already threatening further legal action.
The CIEH said the court cases have cost the Government £370,000 in taxpayer money, adding that it was concerned about EU-enforced pollution standards being watered down after the UK’s departure from the bloc.
Tony Lewis, the institute’s head of policy, said: “The Government’s actions are irresponsible and exasperating. They are fully aware that legal limits apply, they know they are duty bound to comply, but have decided to throw away tax-payer money refusing to acknowledge their responsibilities.
“If all businesses and individuals took this line in respect of other areas of regulation and showed the same contempt for the law, we would quickly turn into a lawless society. We call on the Government to change course immediately, and to start treating this vital issue with the respect it deserves.”