EU starts action against UK over NO2

10th March 2014


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  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Prevention & Control ,
  • Local government ,
  • EU ,
  • Control

Author

Brian Lansdown

The European commission has launched legal proceedings against the UK for failing to cut levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in line with legally-binding limits

The EU Directive on air quality (2008/50/EC), which entered force in June 2008, sets daily and annual limits for NO2 in populated areas. Member states had to achieve the limits by 1 January 2010 unless an extension was granted until 1 January 2015.

The commission says extensions have been agreed only with member states that have a credible and workable plan for meeting the standards within five years of the original deadline, and that the UK has failed to provide such a plan. It also noted the decision of the Supreme Court last year, which found the government was in breach of its obligations under the Directive.

The court confirmed that the air quality limits were not being met in 43 cities and regions, including London and Glasgow, and that, under Defra plans, 15 areas will continue to suffer levels of NO2 exceeding EU rules until at least 2020, while the capital would not meet the target until 2025.

The commission has sent the UK government a letter of formal notice that it is taking legal action. The government has two months to respond.

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