The UK Government has failed to suppress news that its plans to tackle air pollution in Birmingham will mean the city will miss the deadline to comply with EU laws on air pollution by 20 years, 10 years longer than originally thought.
The Government tried to suppress this information using rules on legal privilege, seemingly unaware that it had been revealed on Defra’s website last night.
The news comes as ClientEarth’s case against the UK Government for breaching air quality limits is heard by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg today.
Birmingham is one of three cities where the UK Government will not meet deadlines to comply with EU legal limits on Nitrogen Dioxide until 2030. The others being London and Leeds.
Our Campaigns Co-ordinator Roxanne Green said:
“It is an absolute scandal that the UK Government has tried to suppress the news that it will fail to meet deadlines to clean-up our city’s air for another 16 years.
“With air pollution currently contributing to 100s of premature deaths per year in Birmingham, this failure will have serious impacts on the health of Birmingham people for years to come.
“If the government was serious about the issue of air pollution, as opposed to spending time trying to cover up its failings, it would provide substantially greater investment in sustainable transport, in particular active transport such as walking and cycling.
“As it is clear that the UK Government is refusing to take the issue seriously, Birmingham City Council needs to step-up and provide the leadership we so desperately need.
“As part of our Let’s Get Moving campaign we are calling on Birmingham City Council to show that leadership and invest at least £10 per person per year in active transport.”