The Supreme Court has ordered
the UK Government to draw up new air pollution action plans by the end of 2015. This is in response to the case brought by ClientEarth, campaigning for the right to clean air.
The case concerned the Government's obligation to reduce NO2 levels to within limits set by the EU Air Quality Directive by 2010. In 2010, the NO2 limits were exceeded in 40 out of 43 zones in the UK. An extension could be applied for to move the limits back to 1 January 2015, although projections indicated that 16 zones would still not be in compliance. Indeed, no extension application was made, and instead air quality action plans were submitted to demonstrate that the exceedence of NO2 limits in these 16 zones would be kept "as short as possible" - in this case compliance not predicted until 2025.
The Supreme Court has ordered that new air quality plans must be submitted to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, handed down this morning, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”
Source: Supreme Court