Press release: 16 December 2022

Overdue UK air pollution targets will fail another generation of children – ClientEarth

After missing its own deadline by almost two months, the UK Government has today finally confirmed a whole suite of new environmental targets to be included in the Environment Act – and according to ClientEarth, they fall shamefully short.

The targets include limits on air pollution, featuring a legally binding target to reduce levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to 10 µg/m3 by 2040.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that concentrations of PM2.5 not exceed an annual mean concentration of 5 µg/m3.

Exposure to particulate matter pollution can trigger heart attacks and strokes, increase the risk of asthma attacks resulting in hospitalization or worse, cause lung cancer, and stunt the lung-growth of children. Exposure at a young age dictates your health for the rest of your life.

Andrea Lee, clean air campaigner at environmental law charity ClientEarth, said: “After months of dithering on its supposedly ‘world-leading’ targets, the Government is announcing an air pollution reduction goal with a deadline of 2040 – that’s a shocking 18 years away. Meanwhile, another generation of children will be exposed to toxic pollution far above what the world’s top scientists think is acceptable. With the announcement out just a week before Christmas, the government appears to have poor taste in presents.”


About ClientEarth

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.