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Media reaction: 16 December 2020
In a landmark verdict, the Southwark Coroners Court said air pollution made a material contribution to Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s death.
Katie Nield, lawyer at environmental law charity ClientEarth, said: "This is a huge moment for Ella’s family – they finally have the clarity they deserve. While the science has been unequivocal for years that air pollution is significant threat to public health, the coroner’s unambiguous finding is a legal first and will certainly send a signal to the UK government.
"The inquest has thrown into sharp relief just how long the government has known about the harm that air pollution wreaks on people's lives and how slow they have been to react. How many more lives will be lost before ministers act to clean up the air with the urgency and ambition that people’s health deserves?
"One key thing the government can do immediately, to show that it cares about people’s health, is to commit in the Environment Bill to a legally binding target to achieve World Health Organization guideline levels of harmful fine particulate matter pollution by 2030 at the latest."
ClientEarth is not a party to the inquest and does not represent Ella’s mother Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah. ClientEarth has helped Rosamund’s legal team (Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors) gather relevant legal and policy information for the purposes of the inquest.
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.