ClientEarth warns Scottish Government air pollution plans are inadequate

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 3 July 2017 in News

ClientEarth chief executive James Thornton said: "The draft plans for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are simply plans for more plans."

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The Scottish Government’s attempts to tackle air pollution are inadequate, ClientEarth has warned.

The environmental group has been involved in a long-running legal battle with the UK Government over dangerously high levels of air pollution, with the High Court recently ordering ministers to publish their draft clean air strategy.

The Scottish Government published its own Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy to outline its role in meeting UK-wide targets.


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ClientEarth is due to return to the High Court on Wednesday. Ahead of the appearance, the group warned plans developed by the UK’s devolved governments are “simply plans for more plans”.

There are 38 Pollution Zones, declared by councils to be at risk of dangerous levels of air pollution across Scotland. The number rose from 35 in 2015.

The NGO will argue that although air pollution is devolved, with the European Commission issuing the UK with a ‘final warning’ over illegal levels of air pollution back in February, the UK is responsible for enforcing legal pollution limits.

ClientEarth chief executive James Thornton said: "The draft plans for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are simply plans for more plans.

"The court ordered a plan for the UK government to obey the law on pollution limits across the UK as soon as possible. The health of all UK citizens is at stake, not just some."

Air pollution claims over 2,500 lives in Scotland each year, and an estimated 40,000 throughout the UK annually.

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Roseanna Cunningham recently warned that more must be done to tackle the issue.

She said: “A year on and the package of actions set out in Scotland’s first clean air strategy is clearly helping people and encouraging them to think about ways of improving the quality of air in our communities. But we can’t be complacent and recognise much more needs to be done.

“National Clean Air Day is an opportunity to think about the small actions we can take, such as choosing to leave the car at home more often or avoiding leaving the engine idling when in the car. Employers should also be encouraging staff to travel in a more sustainable way.”

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