Councils warned over deadline on air pollution
The government has written to two local councils warning them of “serious consequences” after they failed to meet the deadline for dealing with air pollution.
Five local authorities with some of the worst pollution outside London – Derby, Southampton, Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham – were ordered to come up with proposals to tackle air pollution in their areas in 2015 and were given today as a deadline.
But this week it emerged that two of the councils – Derby and Southampton – are set to miss the deadline. Now the government has written to the Derby and Southampton councils stating that they “must deliver plans so that nitrogen dioxide compliance is achieved as quickly as possible”, and warning of “serious consequences” if they fail.
Thérèse Coffey, the environment minister, wrote to the two councils earlier this week saying: “You will … wish to consider the risks of missing the legal deadline and the serious associated consequences.”
She added: “I am very clear that local authorities must deliver plans so that nitrogen-dioxide compliance is achieved as quickly as possible.”
Greenpeace said that while it was crucial that local authorities helped tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis, ministers were in no position to “shake their fists” at cash-strapped councils.
“While it’s right that local authorities are being reminded to play their part in tackling air pollution, the government’s message would carry far more weight if ministers had practised what they’re preaching.
“Instead, they failed to rein in illegal air pollution for years … and are still delaying the measures we need to clean up our air.”