The High Court has ordered a hearing into the government’s application to delay the publication of its clean air plan for the UK.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) was ordered by the court to publish the plans by 4pm yesterday after its previous proposals to tackle air pollution were deemed inadequate.
However, Defra asked for the date to be pushed back to June last Friday “to comply with pre-election propriety rules”.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom yesterday said the government would publish a draft air quality plan after the general election in June and the final one in September.
The High Court has scheduled the hearing for Thursday morning at 10.30am.
James Thornton, CEO of environmental law firm ClientEarth, which previously brought legal proceedings against the government said: “Thursday’s hearing is at the court’s direction because the UK Government has asked for an extension.
“We are preparing our response to the government’s application. This is a public health issue and not a political issue. Urgent action is required to protect people’s health from the illegal and poisonous air that we are forced to breathe in the UK.
“This is a matter for the court to decide once the government has made its arguments because it is the government which has not met and instead seeks to extend the court’s deadline for the clean air plan, to clean up our air.”