UK air quality legal breaches continue

Infraction proceedings remain unlikely in the near future despite the UK’s admission of continuing legal breaches over air quality

Most of the UK continues to be in breach of the 2008 EU Ambient Air Quality Directive because of high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), according to latest 2012 annual compliance assessment summary published by DEFRA on 30 September.

It shows that the pattern of breaches of legally binding NO2 limits continues, with 38 of the UK’s 43 air quality zones exceeding the 40 micrograms per cubic metre annual average limit (see table). This limit has been in place since 2010 and was also breached in 40 of 43 UK zones during 2011.

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