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
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.