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.