UK TO MISS AIR QUALITY TARGET DATE BY 20 YEARS
New figures released last Wednesday by the British government show that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in the Greater London urban area, West Midlands urban area, and West Yorkshire urban area will likely continue to exceed EU limits until at least 2030. The UK has violated the EU pollution limits since 2010, but before Wednesday the government had maintained that all parts of the UK would be in compliance by 2025. Environmental activist organization Client Earth, which has brought a case against the UK before the European Court of Justice as a result of the breech of pollution limits, condemned the British government for the delay. Lawyer Alan Andrews said, “Another five years of delay means thousands more people will die or be made seriously ill.” Client Earth blames UK tax policies that they say encourage the use of diesel cars—a principal source of NO2 emissions—for the high pollution levels. In 2000, only 14 percent of new cars sold in the UK were diesel-powered, while by 2010 the number had risen to nearly half. According to air pollution experts at King’s College in London, NO2 levels on Oxford Street last week were the worst in the world. For the full story, see http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28255246 and http://www.euractiv.com/sections/sustainable-dev/uk-cities-will-exceed-eu-pollution-limits-until-2030-figures-show-303422.