Media reaction: 17 June 2021
Government’s response to Ella report “a disgrace” – lawyers
Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have reacted to the UK Government’s response to a report designed to prevent future deaths from toxic air pollution across the country, calling it “nothing but old commitments repackaged”.
The report was issued by a coroner after an inquest into the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, which concluded that air pollution was a factor in her death, aged nine.
According to the lawyers, the actions the government is set to take totally disregard the scale and urgency of the problem:
- The government has already committed to a consultation on a new target for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) as part of the Environment Bill.
- The government has already committed to considering a population exposure target.
- The UK Government is set to miss its emissions reduction target for PM2.5 by 45%.
Katie Nield, lawyer at environmental law charity ClientEarth, said: “The coroner couldn’t have been clearer on the need to align UK law with the World Health Organization guidelines on PM2.5. He said it would save lives. Yet the government has totally disregarded this.
“What they are announcing today to deal with this lethal pollutant is nothing but old commitments repackaged.
“This is a disgrace given what happened to Ella and what continues to happen to children and adults across the country because of toxic air.
“If the prime minister really wants to make the Environment Bill a lodestar, his government has to massively step up.”
ClientEarth has previously won three cases against the UK Government over its failure to address the country’s chronic air pollution problem.
ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.