The Supreme Court will issue a final verdict in environmental campaign organisation ClientEarth’s case against the UK Government over its failure to meet air pollution legal limits by a 2010 deadline. Glasgow is specificially named as one of the places where health standard are exceeded.

Friends of the Earth Scotland has supported the arguments put forward by Client Earth and in January of this year they revealed that several streets in Scotland continue to have illegal levels of air pollution.

Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner, Emilia Hanna said,

“Thousands of people have died while the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council have dithered. We are looking for the Supreme Court’s ruling to compel both to act.

“This is a crucial judgment for Scotland because right now there is a new strategy out for consultation about how Scotland will meet its air quality obligations. The Scottish Government’s current plans for clean air are riddled with potholes. The Scottish Government must commit to keeping the most polluting vehicles out of city centres through introducing Low Emission Zones in major cities by 2018.

“Air pollution is causing a public health crisis in the UK and Scotland. It causes premature death, triggers asthma attacks, heart attacks, and strokes. Streets in many parts of Scotland continue to have illegal levels of pollution that are putting health at risk.

“The Supreme Court is likely to confirm that the UK Government is breaking the law on air quality, and needs to produce an action plan to urgently fix air pollution problems, including those in Glasgow.”

 

Notes to editors

[1] Supreme Court Judges are will hand down their judgment at 9:45 a.m. and are expected to take approximately 30 minutes. The case was heard on April 16th. Friends of the Earth Scotland has a short blog following the hearing: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/clean-air-court-case

[2] In January 2015, Friends of the Earth Scotland revealed the streets in Scotland that are consistently breaking air pollution safety standards: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/air-pollution-streets-2014

[3] Air pollution is a cause of:
– Lung and respiratory conditions, including asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer: http://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/books/sp161/index.php

– Heart and cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, unstable angina and heart failure http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.f7412

– Over 2000 early deaths in Scotland every year: http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317141074607. (see Table 3 for Scottish figures)

[4] The Scottish Government’s Low Emission Strategy Consultation can be found at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/01/3287

Friends of the Earth Scotland is running an online action calling on people to respond to the consultation, foes.do/LowEmissionStrat

[5] Friends of the Earth Scotland is:

* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups. www.foe-scotland.org.uk