UK Supreme Court orders government to take action on air quality
On 29 of April 2015 the UK Supreme Court decided in a lawsuit filed by the lawyer organisaton ClientEarth against the UK government concerning the ongoing exceedance of limit values. The UK has been breaching legal limits for nitrogen dioxide since 2010 in 16 different cities and regions. The judgment forces the next government to draw up new air quality plans by the end of this year.
The Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V., DUH) welcomes the decision: “The judgment sets a clear signal for the execution of the EU Air Quality Directive and the implementation of the ECJ decision. Member States are required to meet air pollution limits without exception and to take all necessary measures to protect the health of all citizens,” said Jürgen Resch, CEO of DUH.
Already on 1 May 2013 the Supreme Court has declared that the Government is failing in its duty to protect people from harmful effects of air pollution and referred some of the complex legal questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ highlighted on 19 November 2014 that national courts have to demand for any necessary measure from the national authority, if Member States are in breach with limit values.
Within the Clean Air Project the DUH together with other European partner NGOs advocates for a better implementation of air quality measures in cities and has successfully fought for the right to clean air in all cases.