The UK Government made a last-ditch bid to delay publication of its air quality plans on Friday (21 April) evening, citing “pre-election proprietary rules”.
After ClientEarth’s second legal victory against the government over illegal air pollution in two years in November 2016, the government was ordered by a High Court judge to release the plans for publication by 4pm on April 24.
However, the government now wants to delay publication of the draft plans until after the election and the final air quality plans until 15 September.
Reacting to the move, ClientEarth CEO James Thornton, said: “The unacceptable last-minute nature of the government’s application late on Friday night, after the court had closed, meant that we spent the weekend considering our response.
“We are still examining our next steps. This is a question of public health and not of politics and for that reason we believe that the plans should be put in place without delay.
“Whichever party ends up in power after June 8th will need this Air Quality Plan to begin finally to tackle our illegal levels of pollution and prevent further illness and early deaths from toxins in the air we breathe. The government has had five months to draft this plan and it should be published.”