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Election forces government to make last-ditch bid to delay ‘essential’ clean air plans

Election forces government to make last-ditch bid to delay ‘essential’ clean air plans

The UK government has made a last-ditch bid to delay publication of its air quality plans citing “pre-election proprietary rules”.  

After ClientEarth’s second legal victory against the government over illegal air pollution in two years in November 2016, the government was ordered by a High Court judge to release the plans for publication by 4pm on Monday (24 April).  

However, the government now wants to delay publication of the draft plans until after the 8 June election and the final air quality plans until 15 September.  

Reacting to the move, ClientEarth CEO James Thornton, said: “We are still examining our next steps. This is a question of public health and not of politics and for that reason we believe that the plans should be put in place without delay.  

“Whichever party ends up in power after 8 June will need this Air Quality Plan to begin finally to tackle our illegal levels of pollution and prevent further illness and early deaths from toxins in the air we breathe. The government has had five months to draft this plan and it should be published.”

The anticipated Air Quality Plan could see a national network of Clear Air Zones established in cities as well as tax changes impacting particularly on diesel vehicles.