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European Commission issues ‘final warning’ to UK on continued air pollution breaches

The European Commission has sent final warnings to the UK as well as Germany, France, Spain, Italy for failing to address repeated breaches of air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide.


Persistently high levels of nitrogen dioxide mainly results from road traffic.

In the UK, the warning covers persistent exceeding of NO2 limit values in 16 air quality zones, among them London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow.

Persistently high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – which mainly results from road traffic – caused almost 70 000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013, which was almost three times the number of deaths by road traffic accidents in the same year.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomed the news.

Louise Duprez, EEB senior policy officer on air pollution, said: “What the European Commission is doing today is essential. EU air pollution laws are designed to protect our health. There’s no excuse for countries that fail to implement these laws properly. Children growing up in urban areas deserve better than to be forced to inhale toxic fumes known to cause bronchitis, asthma and other conditions. People all over Europe will welcome the European Commission’s action on this issue.”

According to reports, a scrappage scheme for diesel cars could launch within months in the UK as the Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Defra) works on a revised air quality plan to tackle pollution.

Yesterday saw Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urge ministers to adopt a national scrappage fund to persuade motorists to replace diesel cars and vans to tackle ‘killer toxic air’.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.