Air pollution in a number of UK towns and cities is worse than previously feared according to a new Government plan ordered by the High Court earlier this year after legal action by ClientEarth.
The new plan, which must show how the Government will address illegal levels of air pollution in 33 local authority areas in England, revealed that eight of them have worse levels of air pollution than Government figures previously suggested.
The local authorities are Portsmouth City Council, Liverpool City Council, Leicester City Council, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Bolsover District Council, Broxbourne Borough Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
These councils had carried out more detailed pollution studies to feed into the court-ordered plan.
ClientEarth clean air lawyer Katie Nield said: “It’s absolutely staggering that only now, eight years after legal limits came into force, the true extent of the problem is being uncovered for large areas of the country.
“In the meantime, people in these areas have continued to be exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution.”
ClientEarth said the evidence shows that in some areas people could have to wait until 2028 for legal levels of pollution, unless urgent action is taken to tackle the problem.
This was the date London was forecast to comply to if no further action was taken.
ClientEarth is calling for a national network of clean air zones, help and support for people and businesses to move to cleaner forms of transport, such as a targeted scrappage scheme and new clean air laws to protect people from the harmful effects of air pollution.