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Air pollution to threaten UK health for many years – 30th January

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Air pollution will persist in affecting the public’s health for countless years unless the government is pushed to develop its air pollution strategy, the high court has been informed.

This follows on from two previous plans from the government which were declared illegal for not doing enough to reduce air pollution levels. Environmental lawyers ClientEarth argue that this latest plan also does not take enough action to cut air pollution in the ‘shortest possible time’ as required by EU law.

It is predicted that pollution will not reduce below legal limits until 2021 for the majority of urban areas, and 2028 for London. The biggest cause of air pollution in urban areas is nitrogen dioxide, which is produced by diesel cars, and has been at illegally high levels in urban Britain since 2010.

The latest plan from the government has been condemned as insufficient and intolerable by city leaders and health specialists.

The environmental lawyers ClientEarth argue that the most recent plan recants on clean air zones in many urban areas, such as Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton, which would enforce charges to deter from taking polluting vehicles into the cities; a system which was compulsory in previous plans but has been downgraded to only be expected to be applied. The group go on to further criticise that the plan does not require any action to be taken in 45 local authorities, of which many are heavily polluted urban cities.

ClientEarth have also taken action successfully against the Welsh government, who accepted that their plans were insufficient and have agreed to work with ClientEarth on improving their strategy.

For more information on pollution levels in your area, click here to be taken to DEFRA’s interactive air pollution maps.

For more information on ClientEarth, click here.

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