April 25, 2017 / 5:21 PM / 3 months ago

Court to hold hearing on UK air quality report delay: campaigners

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An exhaust emits fumes as a car is driven through Richmond in London, Britain December 2, 2016.Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - London's High Court will hold a hearing on Thursday over the British government's bid to postpone publishing its plans to reduce air pollution, environmental campaigners said on Tuesday.

The government is obliged to draw up a new plan to meet nitrogen dioxide limits set by the European Union after the High Court ruled in November that a calculation of future vehicle emissions was too optimistic.

However, although the government had until 1500 GMT on Monday to publish a draft of its report on improving air quality, environment minister Andrea Leadsom said it would delay this until the end of June, after a snap general election.

The government says the delay is needed to comply with rules that bar public officials from engaging in political activities in the weeks leading up to the June 8 election, but campaigners say air quality should not be considered a political issue.

Non-profit environmental lawyers ClientEarth said the hearing would start at 10:30 a.m (0930 GMT).

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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