UK Government loses clean air court case

Posted: February 21, 2018 by oldbrew in Emissions, government, Legal, pollution

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Free handy hints here from the BBC, including: forget about face masks, avoid busy roads, and – wait for it – ‘stand back’ after pressing the crossing button at traffic lights.

Campaigners win a third High Court victory over the UK government’s plans to tackle air pollution – BBC News.

The judge in the case said the government plan was “unlawful” and that more action was needed in 45 English local authority areas.

He said ministers had to ensure that in each of the areas, steps were taken to comply with the law as soon as possible.

The case was brought by ClientEarth, a group of activist lawyers.

Mr Justice Garnham said: “Because the obligation is zone-specific, the fact that each of the 45 local authority areas will achieve compliance in any event by 2021 is of no immediate significance.

“The Environment Secretary must ensure that, in each of the 45 areas, steps are taken to achieve compliance as soon as possible, by the quickest route possible and by a means that makes that outcome likely.”

He added: “In effect, these local authorities are being urged and encouraged to come up with proposals to improve air quality over the next three years, but are not being required to do so. In my judgment, that sort of exhortation is not sufficient.”

As a result of previous rulings, the government drew up new plans for reducing nitrogen dioxide pollution, much of which comes from vehicles, to within legal limits.

Five ways to avoid pollution

>> Keep away from the busiest roads – pollution concentrates around the heaviest traffic
>> Use side roads – these are cleaner because there is so much less traffic
>> Watch out for hotspots of dirty air – engines are often left running in stationary traffic. This can create “urban canyons” of pollution, particularly around traffic lights, so stand back after pushing the button before crossing the road
>> When walking up a hill always stick to the side where traffic is flowing down the hill, away from the brunt of the fumes. This will always be the cleaner alternative
>> Basic face-masks are not worth the hassle – these trap dust but little else, while heavy-duty versions are cumbersome. Scientists recommend avoiding busy roads instead

Continued here.

  1. Bitter@twisted says:

    One has to wonder whether the Government lawyers actually defended this action?
    After all the Government’s own figures show pollution- NOx, PM10s etc. Have decreased significantly over the last ten years.
    I can only conclude they are incompetent or complicit.

  2. Kip Hansen says:

    Inane…sounds like the recommendations in the NY Times’ ClimateFwd: newslatter.

  3. A C Osborn says:

    The New levels they have to reach are EU ones.
    It doesn’t matter that they have reduced them by over 50% since the 70s, the EU has spoken.

  4. ivan says:

    Maybe the government should do the simple thing and change the law. They should be able to do that and tell the EU to take a running jump off a wind generator.

    I is time we, the people, have a big say in what our country does instead of a group of unelected dictators.

  5. Chris Martin says:

    This action relates to EU law, yet if you look at the EU’s own data monitor website air quality in U.K. cities is better than most other EU countries. Paris, northern Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, parts of Germany and most of Eastern Europe are worse. Our problem is we are infested by self righteous activists who take legal action and self righteous judges who let them get away with it. On any measure out air quality is the best it has been in the last century.

  6. Phoenix44 says:

    This law is deeply unconstitutional. There is not a single polluter, or a group of polluters – it is pretty much everybody who lives in a city (leaving aside the fact that NOx and PMs are not pollution).

    So it is saying that the state can make all of us change our behaviors to meet an arbitrary target set only by the state.

    If we all suffer but we all pollute, then there are no externalities which we should either avoid or pay for.

  7. stewgreen says:

    “Campaigners win a third High Court victory” ..Really ?
    A case of libEstablishment media reporting off the Client Earths press release
    An hour later at PMQ’s The PM pointed out that Client Earth had lost on 2 of its 3 points that day
    #2 ..but I didn’t hear of any punishment for gov.

    #3 Seems the trick of usurping democracy using the courts as widely used against the EPA.
    Keep suing the gov, until you get the result you like

    #4 The missing context is laws come from EU regulations which set limits way lower than traditional levels, hence a large proportion of urban areas with heavy traffic break them all over Europe.