ClientEarth takes Government to court over air pollution levels

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth are taking the Government to court today for not tackling high levels of air pollution in the UK.

Mr Justice Mitting will this morning (13 December) hear ClientEarth’s challenge against the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman, saying that the Government should have complied with EU limits for air quality by 1 January 2010.

6 Pump Court’s Stephen Hockman QC, who is a trustee of ClientEarth, will argue the case.

The organisation says 17 regions and cities, including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff, will not meet the limits until after 2015.

ClientEarth is asking the court to order the Secretary of State to draw up plans that will achieve legal compliance throughout the UK by 2015. It also wants Mitting J to make a declaration that the Secretary of State is in breach of her legal obligations.

James Thornton, CEO of ClientEarth said the Government’s strategies for tackling air pollution were “frankly pathetic”.

Thornton added: “Instead of delaying action in the hope they can persuade the EU to weaken the legal limits the Government needs to tackle this public health crisis now.”