ClientEarth kicks off Highways England air pollution challenge

Campaigning legal organisation ClientEarth has begun the next phase of its long-running litigation on air quality, this time targeting the management of England’s major roads.

Highways England has spent little of the £100m it was allocated to address pollution hotspots along the 3000km of motorway and 4100km of major A-roads that it maintains, says the group. Only some stretches have been modelled, but of those a third have illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide. The failure to address the issue is unlawful, according to ClientEarth.

It has asked the government to direct Highways England to produce a plan to attain air quality standards as soon as possible, in a similar manner to how a series of English town and cities have been treated. Their plans do not need to include the roads maintained by the body, a “huge blind spot” in the government’s approach to air quality management, said ClientEarth clean air lawyer Katie Nield.

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