UK SUPREME COURT FINDS GOVT GUILTY OF FAILING TO UPHOLD EU AIR LAWS
The UK supreme court ruled last week that the government was guilty of breaching its legal duty to uphold European Union air quality laws. Britain's highest appeals court said that the government had breached a nitrogen dioxide directive and asked for guidance from the European Court of Justice on what actions need to be taken. The ruling marks the first time that a UK court has recognized that the government has failed to meet EU pollution rules, but the European court may take as long as 18 months to reply with answers to certain legal questions. The supreme court could eventually force the government to take certain steps to improve air quality. London currently has the highest nitrogen dioxide levels of any European capital, and air pollution contributes to around 29,000 early deaths a year, according to a body that advises the government. The UK now faces stiff fines, and cities may be required to limit the entry of cars and heavy good vehicles to reduce pollution. For the full story, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/01/government-pollution-supreme-court and http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/01/us-britain-pollution-idUSBRE9400DU20130501.