Judges order air pollution action

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Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The News Editor

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The Government has been ordered by the UK’s highest court to take immediate action over its obligations under European law on air pollution limits.

Supreme Court justices announced their decision today in the latest round of a battle by environmental campaigners over levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air.

In a unanimous ruling, a panel of five judges, headed by the court’s president Lord Neuberger, ordered “that the Government must prepare and consult on new air quality plans for submission to the European Commission … no later than December 31 2015”.

The justices were urged by ClientEarth at a hearing earlier this month to order the Government to produce a new plan urgently for reducing levels.

Ben Jaffey, representing ClientEarth in its case against the Environment Secretary, told them that only such enforcement action by the court would provide “an effective remedy” for the “ongoing breach” by the UK of European Union (EU) law on limits for the pollutant, which causes breathing and heart problems.

Announcing the decision, Lord Carnwath said: “The new government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The News Editor

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