The Government has been under pressure to introduce low emission zones, in order to improve air quality. London has had a particular focus recently, but…what about the rest of the country? Vanarama's Laura Day reports.
We all want to live in a clean, green society – am I right?
With that in mind, the Government has been ordered by the High Court to take stronger action to improve air quality in areas that aren't compelled to introduce clean air zones.
Plan of action
As it stands, London will introduce an ultra-low emission zone next year, while 5 cities – Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham and Southampton – have been ordered to introduce clean air zones before 2020.
A further 23 local authorities, where breaches of NO2 legal limits are expected beyond 2021, are required to set out local action plans for tackling air quality. The plans were supposed to be committed to the Government by March, with the final plans to be submitted by December at the latest.
However, this action has now been ruled as unlawful by a High Court Judge, as it does not include 45 other local authorities in England, where pollution is also a big problem. Judge Mr Justice Garnham ordered ministers to require local authorities to investigate and identify measures to tackle illegal levels of pollution.
A step in the right direction
Environmental campaigners Client Earth recently won a case against the UK government, over the country's illegal and harmful levels of air pollution.
Speaking outside of the court, Client Earth lawyer Anna Heslop said: "We are delighted that the court has today ordered the Government to urgently take further action to fix the dangerous air pollution in our towns and cities."
Heslop goes on to add: "The problem was supposed to be cleaned up over eight years ago, and yet successive Governments have failed to do enough."
Client Earth is determined to see justice served for the regions that the Government has been less focused on. After all, we all "deserve to breathe clean air and the Government must do all it can to make that happen quickly".
Couldn't have put it better myself.
What are your thoughts on clean air zones? Do you think the Government should be doing MORE to get the ball rolling? Let us know in the comments below.