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Air pollution in UK towns and cities is 'worse than previously feared'

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. 

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  • maria.cole_spoortech.com - 08/10/2018 12:18

    If we think about years ago, how london was full of factories and smog and fog, people lived a life that was shortened by pollution. Currently we are living longer these days than every before. I understand that as a nation, we should all do our bit to help make this world a safer, less polluted place to live, but am i the only one that feels that this is all going a little bit over the top now? We have the Low Emission Zone and now the Ultra Low Emission Zone coming into force soon. Are we going to have a Super Low Emission Zone and then a Zero Emission Zone and more cost to drivers and companies? Please!!! Lets not forget other pollution that is being transported out of London by boat down the river Thames to green belt land! Hazardous waste also transported by vehicles here and there and anywhere out of London. Soon the green belt land will be more polluted because that is where is it all going! How about putting some money into better disposal of contaminated waste instead of yet again, hitting companies and individuals hard that live and work within that specified area of London? When will this ever stop?! I am all for making this world a better place, but in my opinion there are far more important issues to plough mpney into. Thank you.

  • Henry Thomas - 09/10/2018 22:00

    This just again highlights the need for clarity over where and when clean air zones may have to be introduced and what charges fleet operators could face. At the moment, apart from London's ultra-low emission zone, we know the 'preferred' options of those councils initially identified with the worst pollution problems, and those councils where there is a political preference for a clean air zone, but this suggests more could follow impacting fleet operators the length and breadth of the country. Fleet decision-makers need time to plan and leadership from Government, not this drip feed of information and disjointed environmental policy.

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