Monday, 14 December 2009

UK faces EU fines over London air quality

Last Friday the European Commission turned down a request from the UK Government for more time to comply with EU limits on pollution in London, which is in breach of Directive 1999/30/EC.

The UK is now facing legal proceedings and the threat of up to £300m fines after the European Commission ruled that:
"air quality plan for this particular zone did not meet the minimum requirements of the Directive for a time extension".

London Mayor, Boris Johnson will now be under pressure to bring forward his draft Air Quality Strategy, which was based on the assumption that an extension would be granted until 2011.

Laura Gyte, Friends of the Earth's solicitor, said:

"The UK has known about these limits for years - we are delighted that the EU has rejected the Government's bid to carry on polluting."

I'm afraid that I can't share in the delight that the elected UK Government, and the elected London Mayor have been overruled by the unelected EU Commission.

Interestingly, Boris Johnson was interviewed on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, during which he mentioned in great detail the cycling initiatives outlined in his Air Quality Strategy, but strangely the involvement of the EU and the decision of the EU Commission on Friday were not.

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