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Government to be taken back to court over ‘flawed’ air quality plans

Environmental lawyers at ClientEarth are taking the UK government back to the High Court for a third time to argue that recently published air quality plans fail to ensure proper measures to clean up illegal pollution.


ClientEarth will argue that the air quality plan fails to ensure proper measures will clean up illegal pollution.

Claiming that the current plans – already accused of “abdicating responsibility” and being “watered down” by a number of organisations – are “fundamentally flawed”, ClientEarth said it had no choice but to take the Government back to court, marking the latest in an ongoing legal wrangle first started in 2011 over the Government’s failure to comply with EU nitrogen dioxide limits.

ClientEarth, which argued against a delay to the release of the draft plans in April, said that the plans set out no evidence of any plans for concrete actions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will also argue in court tomorrow (Wednesday 5 July) that the Government’s own evidence shows that charging certain vehicles to enter the most polluted parts of the UK’s towns and cities is the most effective way of achieving compliance with air quality laws, but says ministers have failed to effectively consult on this.

CEO James Thornton said: “The draft plans for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are plans for more plans. The court ordered a plan for the Government to obey the law on pollution limits as soon as possible. The health of all UK citizens is at stake here but the Government is not acting accordingly.”

The Government’s air quality plans are due for final publication by 31 July.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 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. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.