In a case brought by the Hackney-based lawyer activist group Client Earth, the Supreme Court has found that the government is failing in its legal duty to protect people from the harmful effects of air pollution and leaving itself open to legal action. This landmark decision paves the way for the European Commission to take legal action against the UK.
According to Client Earth air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths a year in the UK – more than obesity and alcohol combined. Air pollution causes heart attacks, strokes, respiratory disease and children living near busy roads have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs.
The case concerns 16 cities and regions (including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow) which government plans show will suffer from illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas - until as late as 2020 or 2025.
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