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UK NEWS

Tougher limits for diesel emissions following Supreme Court ruling

Apr 30, 2015
The UK Supreme Court has quashed the government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new proposals by the end of 2015.

The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision handed down on 29 April 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.”

The ruling is the culmination of a five-year legal battle fought by ClientEarth who - according to its web site - is a group of ‘activist lawyers committed to securing a healthy planet’.

ClientEarth Lawyer Alan Andrews said, “Air pollution kills tens of thousands of people in this country every year. We brought our case because we have a right to breathe clean air and today the Supreme Court has upheld that right. The next government, regardless of the political party or parties which take power, is now legally bound to take urgent action on this public health crisis. Before next week’s election all political parties need to make a clear commitment to policies which will deliver clean air and protect our health.”

The Supreme Court ruling means the government must start work on a comprehensive plan to meet pollution limits as soon as possible. Among the measures that it must consider are low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives.

ClientEarth is calling for action to clean up the worst polluting diesel vehicles, through a national network of low emission zones.

ClientEarth’s case concerns 16 cities and regions including London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow. Government plans show that these areas will suffer from illegal levels of air pollution long after they were obliged to comply with limits.

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