LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s plans to curb air pollution are inadequate and must be improved, the High Court ruled on Wednesday following a legal complaint from environmental lawyers, Client Earth.
The judge, Justice Garnham, said more work was needed to be done to tackle harmful air pollution in 45 local authority areas in England and Wales.
“Good faith, hard work and sincere promises are not enough ... and it seems court must keep the pressure on to ensure compliance is actually achieved,” Garnham said when handing down the judgment.
The government’s pollution plans have been criticized by environmental groups which have said the 45 local authority areas would be unlikely to comply with European pollution rules until 2021.
Under the EU’s Air Quality Directive, member states were supposed to comply with nitrogen dioxide emission limits in 2010 - or by 2015 if they delivered plans to deal with high levels of the gas, which is produced mainly by diesel engines.
Britain’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said it would launch more formal plans for areas with less severe air quality problems.
“We have already delivered significant improvements in air quality since 2010 and we will continue to implement our 3.5 billion pounds ($4.88 billion) air quality plan,” a spokesperson said.
Reporting By Susanna Twidale. Editing by Jane Merriman