Environmentalist lawyers have had enough of UK's air pollution problems. In fact, they have warned the government to tackle air pollution in the country or deal with it in the high court.
ClientEarth eco-lawyers are left with no choice but to put the government to face legal action over its unsuccessful mitigation efforts to address the issue of air pollution.
In line with this, ClientEarth has sent a warning letter to UK Environment Secretary Liz Truss. This letter is said to be the final notice that the group will be giving before it subjects the government to face legal action in the high court.
The letters states that Truss only have 10 days to act on the issue.
"We have had to issue this legal warning to the Government because of its failure to produce a plan that would bring air pollution down as soon as possible," says ClientEarth Chief Executive Officer James Thornton.
Failing To Deliver
In 2015, ClientEarth first challenged the government to release a master plan to decrease nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in the UK.
The group took this endeavor to the high court, which in turn ordered the government to come up with better proposals.
The government did publish a plan to cut down pollutants, but according to ClientEarth lawyers, these are not enough to reduce pollutants and falls significantly short of the court orders.
The said plan centers on establishing clean air areas in five cities by the year 2020. These cities are said to experience the most severe pollutions due to cabs, buses, lorries and coaches.
Part of the plan is to prohibit these modes of transportation from entering the city. However, one loophole that ClientEarth identified is the exclusion of private cars, which are said to be one of the most significant sources of polluted air.
The NO2 limits set by the Government should have been achieved by 2010, and with the current plan, ClientEarth believes it still cannot meet legal targets until 2025.
In fact, London, which is known to be heavily polluted, breached the European Union's annual air pollution limit just eight days after 2016 started.
In the end, Thornton says that despite orders from the UK's highest court, thousands of premature mortalities and clear evidence that air pollution is detrimental to vulnerable populations like children, the government has yet to deliver and fulfill its responsibility of bringing clean air to the public.
Now, ClientEarth has once again asked the government to create new plans, complete with a list of strategies that will reduce air pollution to legal limits in the shortest possible time.
The group also asked the government to place these new plans out for consultation as soon as possible.
If the group does not receive a satisfactory response within the 10-day allotment period, then it will be another round of legal proceedings between ClientEarth and the UK government.