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Supreme Court Ruling On Air Pollution ‘Could Have Wider Impact’

Environment Lawyers Suggest Decision May Affect Further Directives


The UK Supreme Court ruling which orders the Government to take immediate action to tackle air pollution problems in a number of British cities which do not meet standards set by the European Union in 2010 could have wider consequences in environmental law, according to a legal specialist.

Five judges ruled unanimously in factor of non-governmental organisation ClientEarth’s legal challenge, which related to the UK’s action to fulfil its obligations on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as outlined in the Ambient Air Quality Directive.

According to ClientEarth, air pollution kills tens of thousands of people every year and NO2 is most commonly a by-product of vehicles powered by diesel.

As a result of the ruling, the Government has been told that it must “prepare and consult on new air quality plans” for submission to the European Commission before the end of 2015.

Lord Carnwath said: “The new government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue."

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