Mayor of London will submit statement and evidence in high court case brought by ClientEarth on the air pollution crisis in the capital
Thursday 26 May 2016 16.24 BST
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has joined a high court challenge against the government over its air pollution plans, overturning the position of his predecessor, Boris Johnson. Khan filed legal documents on Thursday and can now submit a witness statement and evidence to the court on the air pollution crisis in the capital.
Environmental lawyers ClientEarth are suing the government for the second time in a year, having won a case at the supreme court in 2015 which ordered ministers to fulfil their legal duty to cut pollution in “the shortest time possible”. The new case argues the government is still failing to do this.
The UK missed a 2010 deadline to meet EU air quality rules but the new plan put forward by the government after losing at the supreme court would not cut pollution to legal levels until 2025 in some cities, including London.
“The government’s current air quality plan with respect to London is based on the very limited ambition of the previous mayor to tackle air pollution and isn’t enough to protect Londoners health,” said Khan. “I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health as I suffer from adult-onset asthma myself.”
The legal documents filed said: “The mayor is concerned that compliance is achieved in as short a period as is possible in order to protect the health of those living and working in London, particularly those in disadvantaged communities which are likely to be affected disproportionately by poor air quality.”
Earlier in May, the Guardian revealed an air quality report that remained unpublished while Boris Johnson was mayor which showed 433 schools in the capital are in areas that exceed legal limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution and that four-fifths of those are in deprived areas.