The European Commission today launched legal proceedings against the UK for its failure to cut excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide. The EC said the UK has broken commitments and now faces fines in the hundreds of millions of pounds.
European legislation sets limits on air pollution and the NOx limits should have been achieved by January 2010 unless an extension was granted until January 2015.
The UK Supreme Court said that air pollution limits are regularly exceeded in 16 zones across the UK. EU legislation contains flexibility in the deadlines for returning air pollution to safe levels, the commission said. The original deadline for meeting the limit values was January 2010, though extensions have been granted.
The EC cited extensions that have been granted if a credible and workable plan would be in place by January 2015.
“The UK has not presented any such plan for the zones in question,” a statement said.
The UK has two months to respond.