Government delay bid unsuccessful for air pollution report, rules High Court

27 April 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

Cars in smog

A bid by the Government to delay publishing its plans to tackle illegal air pollution until after the General Election has failed at the High Court.

Ministers were given until 4pm on Monday April 24 to set out draft measures on reducing illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution after the judge ruled last year that existing plans to meet EU-mandated air quality limits were inadequate and must be improved.

But days before the deadline, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) applied to postpone publication of the draft clean air plan until after the June 8 poll.

On Thursday in London, the judge rejected the Government's application.

He said that the draft plan must be published on May 9 to allow for any changes following the local government elections which take place on May 4, with the date for the final plan unchanged on July 31.

What we said

Our chief executive, Simon Gillespie, said: “The decision to uphold the publication deadline of the Government’s Clean Air plan is a step in the right direction and sends out the right message: air pollution is a public health priority. 

“People should not have to risk their health simply by inhaling the air we breathe. Research has shown that 40,000 deaths a year are related to air pollution, with eight in ten caused by a heart attack or stroke. 

“There’s an urgent need for a range of measures to tackle our toxic air and we are committed to working with the Government to make clean air a reality.” 

Our recent research into air pollution

Our new research has found that tiny nanoparticles, like those found in air pollution, can travel into the blood and accumulate in diseased blood vessels. The study suggests that air pollution nanoparticles are able to get into the bloodstream to cause heart disease.

Find out more about our research into air pollution