Election blamed for delay to air quality plan

Government has asked the High Court to allow a delay to publication of the national air quality plan until 30 June, three week after the election. The High Court had previously ordered the government to publish by today, 24 April, a draft plan for solving a national air quality crisis, after the environmental campaign group ClientEarth won its High Court challenge against government's previous plans to tackle the problem. Government applied for the delay on Friday last week, arguing this as necessary to comply with purdah rules, which came into force on midnight Friday 21 April.

The Government decision to delay the publication faces legal challenges from lawyers for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and ClientEarth. The shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Sue Hayman, was due to put an urgent question to government on its delay in Parliament today.

Over the weekend the Guardian reported that analysis published by the Labour Party had found that nearly 40 million people in the UK are living in areas where illegal levels of air pollution risk damaging their health. The Labour Party has vowed to bring in a new clean air act to tackle what it said was a “public health emergency.”