St. Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom

New clean air consultation shows UK government struggling to solve air pollution crisis

A new consultation from the UK government on measures to clean up illegal levels of air pollution in 33 Local Authorities across England have been met with bafflement by environmental lawyers.

Following the latest legal challenge by ClientEarth, this consultation on the government’s court-ordered Air Quality Plan, which must be finalised by October, contains no new ideas to suggest the government is getting a grip on the problem.

ClientEarth lawyer Katie Nield said: “We’re surprised and disappointed by what has been put out today. Last week, the government heralded its Clean Air Strategy as the solution to our air pollution problems. That strategy contained very little on road transport, as government claimed this would be taken care of by its Air Quality Plan. The consultation out today is about emissions from road transport but says the government is not anticipating any ‘significant new evidence’ to help it produce a plan. The government seems to have run out of ideas.”

As part of ClientEarth’s High Court victory against ministers in February, the judge gave the environmental law organisation the right to return to court if it felt elements of the government response were not up to scratch.

Katie added: “This consultation does not fill us with hope for the final plans due out in October. We will be examining them very carefully when they do come out.”

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Thomas Kelley

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