Tue, Sep 12, 2017 - Page 6 News List

UN slams UK government over ‘plague’ of pollution

AFP, LONDON

A UN report has slammed the UK for failing to tackle the “plague” of air pollution, while also warning of Brexit risks, ahead of the body’s Human Rights Council opening yesterday.

“Air pollution continues to plague the United Kingdom,” read the report by UN Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes Baskut Tuncak, to be presented at the rights council in Geneva, Switzerland, which runs until Sept. 29.

More than 40,000 premature deaths a year are linked to air pollution, noted the report which argued that through inaction the UK government has “violated its obligations” to protect children.

“The Special Rapporteur is alarmed that despite repeated judicial instruction... the United Kingdom Government continues to flout its duty to ensure adequate air quality and protect the rights to life and health of its citizens,” it said.

The British government has faced a series of legal challenges over its proposals, with a 2015 air pollution plan struck down by the courts for being inadequate.

New proposals, including a scrappage scheme targeting diesel cars, were unveiled in May after the High Court ruled against the government’s intention to delay.

However, the UN report said the latest plan “does not convey the necessary urgency” and urged the government to implement a “robust clean air plan without delay.”

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