ClientEarth outside Royal Courtsof Justice after Supreme Court Victory

UK Supreme Court orders Government to take “immediate action” on air pollution

The UK Supreme Court has quashed the Government’s ineffective plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year.

Supreme Court Victory

The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, handed down this morning, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”

The historic ruling is the culmination of a five year legal battle fought by ClientEarth for the right of British people to breathe clean air.

The ruling will save thousands of lives a year by forcing the Government to urgently clean up pollution from diesel vehicles, the main source of the illegal levels of Nitrogen Dioxide found in many of the UK’s towns and cities.

ClientEarth Lawyer Alan Andrews said: “Air pollution kills tens of thousands of people in this country every year. We brought our case because we have a right to breathe clean air and today the Supreme Court has upheld that right.”

“This ruling will benefit everyone’s health but particularly children, older people and those with existing health conditions like asthma and heart and lung conditions.

“The next Government, regardless of the political party or parties which take power, is now legally bound to take urgent action on this public health crisis. Before next week’s election all political parties need to make a clear commitment to policies which will deliver clean air and protect our health.”

The Supreme Court ruling means the Government must start work on a comprehensive plan to meet pollution limits as soon as possible. Among the measures that that it must consider are low emission zones, congestion charging and other economic incentives.

ClientEarth is calling for action to clean up the worst polluting diesel vehicles, including through a national network of low emission zones.

Share this...
Share on Facebook! Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn! Email!

Alex France

Related articles

More from

  • neon roads highway night

    VW CEO cannot defend ‘clean’ diesels while saying the fuel is history

    The CEO of Volkswagen, Matthias Müller, has heralded a new era by saying that diesel belongs in the past and suggesting all tax breaks for the fuel be cut.

  • The challenge of challenging air quality programs in Poland – The Silesian air quality program and the issue of standing

    In February 2016, a resident of the town of Rybnik located in the region of Silesia, Poland, demanded that the Silesian Regional Assembly amend the air quality program it had adopted in 2014 for the region of Silesia.

  • london st pauls

    UK government will face court hearing over toxic pollution

    A judge has ordered a High Court hearing in ClientEarth’s latest case against the UK Government over illegal and harmful levels of air pollution in the country.

  • paris skyline

    Highest administrative court grants access to justice and upholds right to clean air in France

    On 11 July 2017, the Conseil d’État ordered the French government to produce plans to achieve air quality limit values in the shortest time possible.

  • Follow us

    You can help

    Your support helps us use the law to protect your environment.