The United Kingdom is going to court for having illegal levels of air pollution in the European Union, according to The Guardian Thursday.
The UK is facing new legal issues after failing to follow the European Commission’s final warning in January about taking action against their high levels of air pollution, The Guardian reported. The UK joins France, Germany, Romania, Hungary and Italy in being called to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for not taking measures to combat air pollution, which causes 400,000 premature deaths to toxic air around Europe every year. These five countries are also faced with multi millions of fines in euros if they fail to act.
“We have waited a long time and we cannot possibly wait any longer,” Karmenu Vella, European commissioner for the environment, said. “We have said that this commission is one that protects. Our decision follows through on that claim. It is my conviction that today’s decision will lead to improvements for citizens on a much quicker timescale.”
“We continue to meet EU air quality limits for all pollutants apart from NO2, and data shows we are improving thanks to our efforts to bring levels of NO2 down,” a UK environment department spokesman said. “We will shortly build on our £3.5bn plan to tackle roadside emissions with a comprehensive clean air strategy.”
The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain have already worked on addressing air pollution in their respective countries following January’s warning. (RELATED: Our Air Is Cleaner Than Ever, So Why Do People Think It’s Getting Worse?)
Air pollution is the culprit of 40,000 premature deaths in the UK, according to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, reported the Independent.
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