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UK Government releases ‘weak’ air quality plans

The UK government has produced a weak and incoherent air quality plan which lacks the ambition and detail to tackle Britain’s illegal levels of air pollution.

Reacting to today’s plan ClientEarth CEO, James Thornton said: “We are continuing to analyse the government’s latest air quality plan, but on the face of it it looks much weaker than we had hoped for.

“The court ordered the government to take this public health issue seriously and while the government says that pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health, we will still be faced with illegal air quality for years to come under these proposals.”

The plan was ordered  by the High Court to be published after the local elections, following a bid to delay until after the General Election. The government chose today to publish – as results from the election counts were still pouring in.

Thornton added: “There needs to be a national network of clean air zones which prevent the most polluting vehicles from entering the most illegally polluted streets in our towns and cities.

“We fail to see how the non-charging clean air zones, proposed by the government, will be effective if they don’t persuade motorists to stay out of those areas. The government seems to be passing the buck to local authorities rather than taking responsibility for this public health emergency.

“The government has also failed to commit to a diesel scrappage scheme and this is a crucial element of the range of measures needed to persuade motorists to move to cleaner vehicles. We will be analysing all the technical details in these documents.”

ClientEarth is committed to ensuring the UK government protects our health and tackles illegal pollution as soon as possible.

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Shane Rounce

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