UK Breaches EU Air Pollution Rules

Supreme Court highlights urgency of action on air pollution

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Sarah Ludford MEP
Sarah Ludford MEP

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London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, a campaigner for clean air in London, has welcomed as justified the declaration of the Supreme Court in a case brought by environmental campaign group Client Earth that the UK government has breached European air pollution rules. The Court decided to refer the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for further clarification.

“The Supreme Court declaration that the government has breached the EU Air Quality Directive is regrettable but necessary. Instead of acting swiftly to protect the public from harmful levels of air pollution, a Tory Environment Minister just last week shamefully tried to water down EU air quality rules and the Tory Mayor of London drags his feet.”

“This shows contempt for the thousands of Londoners who die prematurely every year or suffer severe ill-health such as respiratory or heart disease as a result of breathing polluted air. It is a disgrace that the capital counts almost 1 in 10 of the worst areas in the country for air pollution. The people of London deserve serious action to stop these needless deaths, not exposure to even more toxic fumes.”

“I hope the forthcoming ECJ ruling makes clear that the government must act to clean up the capital’s air. Liberal Democrats have long been calling for effective action through a ‘Big Switch’ to electric-powered buses, taxis and vans so that at long last Londoners can have the clean air they deserve.”


May 2, 2013