Deputy political editor
Tuesday 2 May 2017 12.30 BST
A draft plan to tackle air pollution will finally be published within the next week, after No 10 said it would not challenge a court ruling forcing the government to release information before the election.
Theresa May’s official spokesman said the government would not appeal against the high court judg ment, which rejected attempts by ministers to keep the policy under wraps until after the poll.
This means the government will have to publish its draft air-quality plan before 9 May , but No 10 said it wanted to wait until after the purdah period for the local elections was over on Thursday.
The strategy will set out how ministers plan to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis, which is believed to be responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year.
Ministers had applied to the court to keep their plans secret until after the general election, saying it was necessary to “comply with pre-election propriety rules”.
But Mr Justice Garnham said the environment secretary, Andrea Leadsom, was in breach of a court order to take action in the shortest possible time and that any further delays would constitute a further breach.
He said it was essential to publish draft plans to cut air pollution immediately to safeguard public health. The judge rejected a government application to appeal, saying ministers would have to go to the appeal court if they wanted to seek permission to challenge his ruling.
Garnham ordered ministers to publish their draft plan within two weeks – five days after local elections on 4 May – and said the government must comply with his original order and release their final policy on tackling the crisis by 31 July.
“The continued failure of the government to comply with directives and regulations constitutes a significant threat to public health,” he said.