Air Pollution: UK Environment Ministers face court action within weeks

UK environment ministers will be taken to court within weeks to make them speed up plans to reduce dangerous urban air pollution.

Law firm ClientEarth, which last year forced the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to come up with fresh plans to tackle illegal NO2 levels in British cities, warned that it would seek urgent court action because thousands of people’s lives were at risk if present government plans were not strengthened.

Under new plans revealed before Christmas, Defra promised clean air zones for five cities by 2020 in addition to one already planned for London. But it will still take at least five years to clean up pollution in many cities, including Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Andrews said that ClientEarth would go to the high court by 17 March and would ask for the case to be fast-tracked because people’s lives were at risk. Nearly 6,000 people die prematurely each year in London alone because of NO2,according to one study.

NO2 pollution limits for the whole year were breached in Putney high street and Knightsbridge just one week into 2016 . These state that maximum hourly nitrogen dioxide concentrations are not exceeded for more than 18 hours a year.

Full article can be read via the Guardian here.

The World Health Organisation describes global air pollution as a ‘public health emergency’ with countries such as China, India and Pakistan the worst affected. Full story via the Independent.

Two tech giants, Microsoft and IBM have developed smog forecasting technology to help make the air breathable again in China. Full story via the Huffington Post.