Passing the buck on clean air

The government’s new plan to tackle roadside air quality is an improvement on its predecessors but still looks vulnerable to legal action. Gareth Simkins investigates

The motor industry’s failure to make engines that meet emissions standards in the real world has been blamed for the UK exceeding EU limits. Photograph: Kenny Williamson/Alamy Stock PhotoThe government’s plan to tackle urban nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations has been a long time coming. Its third iteration, which will see many English cities charge polluting vehicles for entry, was published on 26 July after earlier versions were struck down in the courts following legal wrangling with ClientEarth (see timeline). But the new plan’s vague requirements and its onus on local-government action may lead to its defenestration yet again.

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