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The Government has to tackle air pollution outside clean air zones - High Court

23rd February 2018 | Mike Lamb

In a recent communication from the High Court, the Government has been ordered to take stronger measures to improve air quality outside of Clean Air Zones (CAZs).

Following the congestion charge which has been in place for a while now, London will introduce its Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019, with another 5 cities (Derby, Nottingham, Leeds, Southampton & Birmingham) ordered to introduce similar zones before 2020. Across the country there are a further 23 local authorities which have been identified where breaches of legal NO2 limits are expected from 2021 and beyond, these authorities will be required to set out localised action plans for improving air quality. Initial plans must be submitted to the Government by March and plans need to be finalised and submitted before December.

Following on from this action plan a High Court Judge has now ruled that the Government's initial plans (published last July) are unlawful as they don't force a further 45 local councils in England, to comply with the laws and regulations as soon as possible. Whilst 12 of the 45 are expected to have legal levels by the end of this year, Ministers have been ordered to investigate and identify procedures to implement legal levels of pollution in the remaining 33 council areas.

Environmental group 'Client Earth' brought a variety of cases against the Government, 2 of the 3 cases were dismissed by the Judge after finding that the Government's model is "Compliant" and the solutions presented are "sensible, rational and lawful". Additional cases brought against the Welsh Assembly were discontinued after Cynulliad Cenedlaethol agreed to work in unison with Client Earth on new proposals.

Want to check if your local government is one of the 45 listed for action? The full list can be found through this link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/633270/air-quality-plan-detail.pdf
The 45 in question can be found in Annex K (Page 86) and are labelled as 'Not required to conduct a feasability study'.

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