Government caves in over air pollution strategy following High Court defeat

Posted On: 
2nd May 2017

Ministers will finally publish their plans on how to tackle air pollution this week after deciding not to appeal against a High Court defeat.

Pollution in London.
PA Images

A top judge last week rejected the Government's plea that its long-awaited consultation document should not be released until after the general election so as not to break strict purdah rules.

The original deadline for publication had been 24 April, but ministers argued it should be extended until 30 June, with the final policy being unveiled on 15 September.

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But Mr Justice Garnham said the Government’s plans must be produced by 9 May, with the final draft to be finished by 31 July.

"These steps are necessary in order to safeguard public health… the continued failure of the Government to comply with the EU directive and regulation constitutes a significant threat to public health,” he said.

"Exposure to nitrogen dioxide [leads to] to 23,500 deaths annually in the UK – that’s more than 64 deaths each day."

A spokesman for the Prime Minister revealed today that the Government had decided not to appeal against the ruling.

"The court's deadline was 9 May and we will be meeting that deadline," he said.

It is expected that the document will be published on Friday, after the local council elections the day before.