BREXIT THREAT TO CLEANER AIR IN THE UK – LEGAL CHALLENGE TO UK GOVT FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH EU AIR QUALITY LAW

For years the UK, and particularly London, has been in breach of EU air quality laws. On the 25th June the New Scientist magazine published an article explaining that following years of breach of the nitrogen dioxide maximum limits, mainly from diesel vehicles, a group of UK activist lawyers (ClientEarth) took the UK government to court for failing to comply with the EU law in 2015, and won. A year later, no adequate remedial plan had been produced by the government, so ClientEarth went back to court. On 16 June a high court judge agreed that the case should be fast-tracked because of its importance for people’s health, and it is set to be heard in October.

Whether this beneficial EU law will be enforceable by October is anybody’s guess. Perhaps it will, if the UK has not formally sent in a request to withdraw from the EU, but whether a UK government which has so far not bothered to do very much to clean up our air will change its spots when it is involved in negotiations to avoid all these so-called “red tape” EU regulations seems most unlikely. London’s air quality is especially bad, so Londoners, and particularly London’s children, will continue to suffer if the air is not cleaned up.

The New Scientist article can be found here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23030793-700-activists-could-force-uk-to-clean-its-air-if-it-remains-in-eu.

ClientEarth’s website can be found here: http://www.clientearth.org/clientearth-clean-air-case-fast-tracked/

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