Supreme Court Ruling on UK Air Quality

30-Apr-2015 @ 12:30

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After  the election on May 7th, the new government will be left in no doubt about the need for immediate action to tackle air quality following a judgement  by the Supreme Court which ordered that the UK must submit new air quality plans to the European Commission by the end of 2015.

The 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.

Julie Girling MEP, who is the lead MEP on air-quality legislation in the European Parliament said; “This is a hugely important issue for us all, and we cannot underestimate the benefits, both for the health of our nation and for the wider environment that would result from cleaning up the air we breathe.

The decision by the Supreme Court is important news for people in areas where air pollution is a real problem.  Around 29,000 people die early in the UK each year as a result of air pollution – more than traffic accidents and passive smoking combined. It is clear the next government must do all it can to ensure that issues around air pollution across the UK are addressed quickly and appropriately.

I believe that a robust and ambitious legislative solution is achievable and will help us tackle this trans-boundary problem in a realistic manner. I fought hard to keep the Clean Air package on the table because I believe it offers a real opportunity to improve the lives of our citizens. This can be done without overburdening our businesses or industries or tying us down in red tape.

This case doesn’t just affect the UK; it is a wake-up call for all European countries where air pollution limits are exceeded. Air pollution is Europe’s number one environmental health risk and the outcome of this case is crucial.”

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