Supreme Court rules ‘UK Breaching EU Air Quality Limits’


The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the government failed to put sufficient measures in place to comply with EU air quality limits. This follows much campaigning and a series of court battles by ClientEarth which is a not-for-profit environmental law organisation.

The recent ruling states that there has “been a breach of the Air Quality Directive” and the case has now been referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The CJEU could decide to the force the government to submit plans detailing the methods through which the UK would meet legal air quality limits. Under current domestic plans, 16 out of 43 designated areas in the UK are not predicted to meet EU legal limits for nitrogen dioxide until 2020. Greater London, a particularly polluted region, is not expected to meet these limits until 2025.

ClientEarth’s chief executive, James Thronton, said “this historic ruling marks a turning point in the fight for clean air and…the [UK environment minister] must now come up with an ambitious plan to protect people from carcinogenic diesel fumes.” Murad Qureshi, chair of the London Assembly’s environment committee commented that “today’s decision should be a wakeup call for the government and the Mayor…air pollution is the second biggest public health risk in the capital.”

Across London, the UK and internationally, REC’s Air Quality Consultants conduct Air Quality Assessments to ensure communities and future site users are not exposed to poor air quality, as well as controlling emissions to acceptable levels. REC undertakes dispersion modelling assessments to help protect sensitive receptors such as schools, hospitals and residential areas from high pollution levels and associated health effects. This helps the UK to achieve its air quality objectives.

For more information on REC’s Services, please download our capability statement here or contact us.

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