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GREENS SEEK PROSECUTION OF GOVERNMENT OVER AIR QUALITY

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Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly, has this week formally asked the European Commission to pro...
Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly, has this week formally asked the European Commission to prosecute the British government for allowing developments which will worsen air quality.

Two thirds of London's boroughs have already been declared areas for urgent action to improve air quality. But according to Ms Jones, the UK government is breaking EU law by allowing new developments with thousands of additional parking spaces and inadequate insulation and energy systems which will make air quality even worse.

Ms Jones said: 'It's not much to ask that Londoners have clean air to breathe. It's hardly a luxury, and it's hardly something we can do without. Yet London's air is among the dirtiest and most unhealthy in the country. So the EU is rightly trying to get countries to clean it up, but the British government is allowing developments to go ahead which will just make things worse.'

Her complaint to the commission says that by allowing huge developments such as those at Stratford City, Arsenal Football Club, and Wembley Stadium, the government is wilfully ignoring the requirements of the EU Air Quality Directive.

'Reducing pollution when we're designing buildings is far easier than trying to make changes later. Yet despite this, we have huge developments right across London which will make air in the city even worse. This is clearly illegal under EU law, and I am asking the European Commission to prosecute the UK government.'

Notes

London's poor air quality has been linked with increasing asthma in children and other breathing difficulties. The EU Air Quality Directive requires governments to improve air quality by introducing measures to ensure various pollutant levels comply with international limits. The limits are to be gradually introduced from 2005, but in the meantime governments must implement plans to improve air quality to ensure compliance by the due dates.

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