The UK is one of 13 countries the European Commission is taking to task over air quality; NOx is of particular concern in air quality zones

The European Commission is cracking down on EU member states' lax air quality standards, referring the UK and six other countries to the EU Court of Justice over their failure to significantly improve air quality

Three ‘pillars’ of air quality improvement have been pegged by the Commission: setting out air quality standards, targets for reducing emissions and emissions standards for pollution sources.

The UK, France and Germany are being referred to the Court of Justice for “failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible”. Of the measurements cited in the referral, the UK’s recorded NOx concentrations of 102µg/m3 in London were the highest of the offending countries. 

A summit was held in January to offer the countries a chance to find solutions to their air quality problems, but none offered "credible, effective and timely" solutions.

The other three countries being taken to court, Hungary, Italy and Romania, are being referred over particulate matter levels.

In total, there are infringement cases pending against 13 member states, those being Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, France, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and the UK.

The Toxicity Charge introduced in October 2017 in Central London was one of the UK’s air quality measures deemed insufficient by the European Commission, given that 16 air quality zones across the nation exceeded the limit in 2016.

The news comes as the EU has set out a plan for further improving air quality by setting out CO2 emissions guidelines for HGVs and other heavy-duty vehicles. A 15% reduction in CO2 emissions in 2025 over 2019 is slated, with this reduction doubling by 2030. Legislative tweaks to allow more aerodynamic lorry designs are planned to facilitate this. 

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Environmental law firm ClientEarth said: “The European Commission’s action, which could end with the UK having to pay fines, should be another strong catalyst for ministers who have failed for almost a decade to take the necessary action.”

Read more:

UK's new petrol and diesel car ban could be enforced from 2030

New UK real-world emissions tests start today

Insight: Is it time to give up on the diesel engine?

Opinion: How the Government’s air quality strategy could hit used car buyers

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Comments
6

17 May 2018

   No Government yet in Britain has managed to make a meaningful start to reduce pollution in densely populated areas, how can they?, there’s not an overnight fix, it can’t happen over five years say, when your a Country in Central Europe you share land borders with three or four others, pollution just does stay in your Country it goes where the Wind blows, here in the Uk it the densely pop areas with the same problem, fining isn’t going to make the offending Country work any quicker because other important things need funding too like the NHS for instance....

Peter Cavellini.

289

17 May 2018

...exactly Peter, this is just another Highway robbery act from the EU.

They create arbitary impossible targets/timelines knowing that a good proportion of members will be unable to comply, to bolster their funds which they can then waste!

17 May 2018
289 wrote:

...exactly Peter, this is just another Highway robbery act from the EU.

They create arbitary impossible targets/timelines knowing that a good proportion of members will be unable to comply, to bolster their funds which they can then waste!

How dare the EU try to make air healthier to breathe for its inhabitants! The sooner were free to choke on our homegrown, British smog the better. Woo hoo! BREXIT!

17 May 2018

Not that we needed any more reasons to leave the EU but we can add this to the list. The sooner we're free of these totalitarian scumbags, the better!

18 May 2018

Set EU CO2 targets, promote diesel, allow big car makers to cheat the NOX system, do nothing about it, watch the value of diesel cars fall and related taxes go up, and then fine the population (its our money) who are stuck with the pollution and divert the cash to the European Commission.  I wasn’t a Eurosceptic but now.........Fiat said diesel wasn’t the answer years ago.  I wonder why they were ignored?

 

18 May 2018

Remember, everything in the EU has to be paid for, sometimes twice over.  Grants have to be given for 'special' projects, like the £1.5 million lift to nowhere in Sutera, or the £5.5 million given to Spain to buy helicopters, or the Belgians flown to Africa to teach Africans how to dance.  All these things cost money.  So if the EU has to raise money, what better way than to charge and fine countries?  The EU needs money now more than ever.  Please carry on giving.  Write to Lord 'kneel' Kinnock and pledge your support.

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