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Press release: 11 March 2020
In today’s Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced new support for local authorities to deal with air pollution, in the form of a £304 million cash boost.
Andree Lee, clean air campaigns manager at ClientEarth, said: “We know that local authorities across the country desperately need more money to enact ambitious clean air plans that will protect people from illegal levels of air pollution. We have made it clear to government that the law requires them to provide sufficient resources to urgently tackle this public health crisis.
“This additional funding is therefore welcomed but the devil will be in the detail. The government needs to work closely with the local authorities to ensure it is spent on the measures that best protect people’s health. However, it is clear that more action and money are needed to help people and businesses move to cleaner forms of transport across the country. Local authorities cannot do this on their own.”
ClientEarth has won three cases against the UK government over the country’s illegal and harmful levels of air pollution.
Following our latest court case, the government has directed 61 English councils to identify local solutions to reduce pollution to within the legal limit in the shortest possible time. But this has mostly led to delays and weak proposals as local authorities lack the resources, capacity and leadership to get to grip with the problem. Proposals from cities such as Bristol, Greater Manchester and Newcastle, are already months behind government-imposed deadlines and lack commitment to action to reduce pollution from private cars, despite these vehicles being recognised as the largest contributor to the problem.
ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.