Court Ruling Means UK Cities May Need to Ban Cars

The UK's supreme court ruled this week that the government has failed to live up to its legal obligation to curb air pollution, in breach of an EU air quality directive.

Following recent reports of Britain's growing pollution-caused public health crisis, the UK's supreme court has ruled that it's time the government did something about it. "The ruling by five judges [PDF] – the first time a UK court has recognised that the government has failed in efforts to meet European air pollution limits – delighted air pollution campaigners," reports John Vidal. 

"The ruling marks a turning point in the fight for clean air and will pile the pressure on the environment secretary, Owen Paterson. He must now come up with an ambitious plan to protect people from carcinogenic diesel fumes. Until now, his only policy has been lobbying in Europe to try and weaken air pollution laws," said James Thornton, chief executive of ClientEarth, the group that brought the case.

"With the possibility of heavy fines and European commission action closer, Britain may now have little option but to come forward with ambitious new plans to reduce NO2 pollution in cities," notes Vidal. "Because most of the pollution is from cars, these could include ultra low-emission zones, bans on certain vehicles and the use of technological 'solutions' such as dust suppressants."

Full Story: UK government failing legal duty on air pollution, supreme court rules

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