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UK minister discourages diesel as pollution deadline looms

Today is the deadline for the UK government to convince the European Commission it has done enough to reduce illegal levels of air pollution across the country and avoid being taken to the European Court of Justice. Air pollution in the UK has been at illegal levels since limits were introduced in 2010.

ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: “We would be absolutely delighted if the government were to come up with new measures that would tackle this public health crisis but we’d also be very surprised. In January, we took the government back to court for a third time and nothing they argued in court convinced us that they have a credible plan to bring down air pollution as soon as possible.”

Today’s deadline follows comments made by the UK Transport Secretary this week, in which he discouraged those driving in cities from buying diesel vehicles. Asked at a London Chamber of Commerce and Industry event what the government could do to help businesses switch to cleaner vehicles, Chris Grayling said that if you live in a city then “diesel is obviously not the ideal fuel for you”.

The UK is among nine countries asked to explain their inaction on air pollution, including Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, where ClientEarth is also fighting legal battles for clean air.

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