UK referred to Europe’s top court over air pollution

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The UK is being captivated to court by the European Commission over its long-standing failure to meet EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO₂).

Germany, France, Italy, Romania, and Hungary demand also been referred to the court for breaching pollution levels.

The European Locale Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, said the EU «owed it to its citizens,» to take authorized action.

The UK has promised a comprehensive air pollution package shortly.

But Britain could cope with fines totalling millions of pounds, on-going until the problem is untangled

The government has already lost a series of battles in the UK courts on air pollution.

Commissioner Vella said it was the Commission’s reliability to ensure people could breathe clean air.

He said the member specifies being taken to court had been repeatedly warned to clean up contamination as soon as possible.

«We can’t possibly wait any longer. It’s high time to double efforts and end exceedances (of pollution levels).»

Environmentalists say by taking the UK to the European Court of Equitableness, the EU has demonstrated what will be lost after Brexit.

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, some time ago promised that governance of the environment would not be diluted when the UK discontinues the EU.

But he revealed last week that the UK environmental watchdog he proposes after Brexit desire not have the automatic power to take the government to court.

The Green MEP Keith Taylor accepted the EC’s decision. He said: «The Commission is being forced to take legal affray against the UK because the government remains steadfastly apathetic in the face of a openly health crisis that is linked to the deaths of 50,000 British denizens every year.»

«Post-Brexit, this is exactly the kind of scrutiny and administration the Tories plan to escape. Proposals for a so-called environment watchdog that is nothing but a halting lapdog without the legal teeth to take the government to court put this genuineness in sharp relief.

«This is particularly concerning as legal action by the Commission and environmental barristers, on the basis of EU law, has been the only way to force the UK government to take any action on air spoiling at all.»

Margherita Tolotto from the green group European Environment Desk said: «European air quality laws are being broken on a continental scale.

«Everybody in Europe has the same right to clean air, and when national governments flop to deliver EU protections, it’s right that the European Commission steps in to mind us from the air we breathe.

«Today’s announcement should surprise no-one. The woods being sent to court have had too many final warnings.»

As the communiqu was being made, lawyers for Paris, Madrid and Brussels were in forthright of the European Court of Justice asking that the three cities be allowed to take exception to vehicle emissions regulations set by the European Commissions and agreed by national dominations.

They are trying to annul the Commission regulation that allows diesel channels to exceed emissions limits during road tests, in the wake of the «dieselgate» taint.

A Defra spokesperson said: «We continue to meet EU air quality limits for all pollutants alone from nitrogen dioxide, and data shows we are improving thanks to our energies to bring levels of NO₂ down.

«We will shortly build on our £3.5bn propose to tackle roadside emissions with a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy, locale out a wide range of actions to reduce pollution from all sources.»

Arise Roger on Twitter @rharrabin

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